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Lewis & Clark Public Health receives more funding for COVID-19 response

Posted at 6:58 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 23:41:38-04

HELENA — Lewis and Clark Public Health is receiving additional funding, as it expands its efforts to track coronavirus cases in Lewis and Clark County.

On Thursday, the Lewis and Clark County Commission accepted an additional $94,251 in grants to support Public Health’s response to COVID-19. The funding comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, through the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Eric Merchant, Lewis and Clark Public Health’s disease control and prevention division administrator, said the money can be used for a variety of costs the agency has incurred while responding to the coronavirus – as far back as Jan. 20. For example, they have brought in an additional 12 to 15 short-term or volunteer nurses, to assist with things like tracking people who have met with infected individuals.

Public Health has also set up a team to regularly contact people who have been isolated after testing positive, or quarantined because they had contact with someone who was infected. Merchant said their sanitarians have focused on working with businesses affected by county and state orders.

“I really want to say, the beating heart and soul of this health department is strong,” Merchant said. “Our commitment and professionalism are second to none. We have been entrusted to do this work for you, for our community, and we will continue to do it well.”

Commissioners thanked Public Health for the efforts they have already made and those they continue to make.

“During this very, very challenging time, when things are so uncertain, it is a great comfort to the entire commission that we have the right people in the right seats at this time,” said Commissioner Susan Good Geise.

You can find Lewis and Clark Public Health’s updated information on COVID-19 at the agency’s website.