HELENA — Effective immediately, event organizers should allow up to 30 days for Public Health to review any plan submitted to the department.
The move is a direct result of the unprecedented number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases in the county in the last week, and the shifting of key employees to other tasks to handle contact tracing and other time-sensitive projects as a result of this spike.
As per the Order of the Health Officer 10-2020, individuals or organizations wishing to hold events with between 50 and 250 attendees in the county must submit a detailed plan outlining protective measures and environmental controls to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Organizers must ensure strict physical distancing of at least six feet between attendees or between groups of family members.
The change to the review process will allow time for public health to ensure each event plan submitted receives a thorough examination before denial or approval.
“We recommend you consider avoiding large gatherings during this surge. We have determined 60% of the cases from this past week have an unknown exposure which means the virus is in the community and can be easily transmitted in situations where people are gathered and physical distancing is not maintained” states Drenda Niemann, Health Officer, Lewis and Clark Public Health.
On Sept. 28, the county reported 33 new COVID-19 cases, marking the highest daily number of new COVID-19 cases since the first local case was reported on March 20. COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus and include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Also, be aware of emergency warning signs of severe COVID-19 disease. Individuals showing any of the following signs or symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately: trouble breathing, persistent pressure or pain in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face coloring.
Lewis and Clark Public Health continues to urge people to do the right thing to protect our community, practice what has been learned over the last few months, such as physical distancing, wearing a face covering, avoiding large gatherings, washing hands, and sanitizing surfaces to protect ourselves and others.
If you have questions, please call Lewis and Clark Public Health at 457-8900.