COVID-19

Page modified 1/20/2021. At this time, daily statistics are available via the Montana COVID map link below. Local vaccine and 
testing information is available on this page.

Local Mandates....

Contact: Bill Bullock

Phone: 406-446-1595

Email: commissioners@co.carbon.mt.us

CARBON COUNTY RESCINDS LOCAL COVID RESTRICTIONS

                Carbon County Health Officer, Dr. William George, rescinded local COVID-19 Health Orders effective 12:00 pm (noon) on Wednesday, January 20, 2021. Carbon Public health restrictions will default to the restrictions set by the State of Montana.

                The Carbon County Board of Health continues to recommend that Carbon County businesses and residents continue to be diligent in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Personal responsibility for your health and your interactions with others is critical in the fight against COVID-19.

Actions you can take to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to reduce the severity of the illness, should you contract it, include: practicing social distancing, practicing good hand hygiene, eating well balanced and nutritious meals to support you body’s natural immune system, engaging in physical activity daily (even if it is jus a walk outside in the fresh air), staying home and away from others if you don’t feel well, and wearing masks in public spaces. These actions are recommended until the local COVID-19 situation changes and state and national guidelines change.

***As of 12:00 pm (noon) on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 Carbon County MT does not have a local masking mandate. At this time Carbon County is following The State’s mask mandate from Governor Gianforte, which is still in effect. More information can be found at… https://covid19.mt.gov/_docs/Directive_on_2-2021.pdf  *** 

Vaccination and Testing Options Here in Carbon County

COVID-19 Vaccinations!!!!!

Thank you all for waiting so patiently for more news on our local COVID vaccination process. Like in all communities, we do not know the amount of vaccine we will receive until soon before shipment. Our supply chain is managed by the State of Montana. I believe they are doing a good job getting vaccines out as quick as possible to all vaccination centers. As we have said before, supply is extremely limited but will likely continue to improve in the weeks ahead.

Here is some important news:

-Vaccinations for Phase 1B will begin Thursday, January 21. Those of you who expressed interest by filling out the survey (at CarbonAlert.org) or called Public Health or Beartooth Billings Clinic for inclusion, will be called for a time slot and information. To assure an equitable process, names will be called in the order we received your interest. Please do not call Beartooth Billings Clinic or Public Health to inquire about your place in line. Besides the complexities of vaccinations, the daily work of PH continues. Numerous active infections and quarantine management continues to challenge our limited personnel.

-Montana’s Phase 1B continues to include those over 70 years of age, persons aged 18 – 69 with high-risk medical conditions, American Indian and other people of color who may be at elevated risk. This list can be found on DPHHS and Carbon alert web site. This list can be found on DPHHS and Carbon Alert web site.

-Moderna’s mRNA vaccine will be the predominate vaccine in the near term for Montanans. This vaccine is only indicated for those over 18 yrs. of age.

-Plan on waiting for 15 minutes after your vaccine to observe for possible rare allergic reactions.

-For long term immunity, the vaccination requires a booster dose in 28 days. We have been assured there will be a supply for this. You will be assisted in making this second appointment.

-Riverstone Health patients utilizing Bridger and Joliet clinics should call their clinics to request receiving their vaccination at their clinics.

-The Public Health vaccination events will serve Beartooth Billings Clinic and Mountainview SCL patients, as well as any other Carbon County residents.

-For logistical reasons we will strive to vaccinate a minimum of 100 people on scheduled vaccination days.

-Plans are being made to allow access for vaccinations in other parts of Carbon County. The frequency of all our local vaccination clinics will depend on vaccine supply. Our goal is to avoid holding unused vaccines for greater than 1 week.

Here are some questions that we don’t have answers for currently:

How long will Phase 1 group take to complete? Will phase descriptions change and be more inclusive? When will other types of COVID vaccines be available?

Here is something I do know:

We are committed to a safe, equitable, transparent and efficient COVID-19 Vaccination Program. Our citizens deserve no less. We appreciate your patience with this process. I will do my best to update you on our vaccination status and any changes to the process.

Bill George MD Carbon County Public Health Officer

Happy New Year everyone. Having these most recent updates focusing on our COVID -19 vaccines is a wonderfully hopeful way to begin 2021. Like all things COVID, this process will evolve with time as vaccine supplies and data on efficacy and safety continue to develop. As many of you know, reports from the original vaccine study participants (many thousands) and those most recently vaccinated (millions) continue to be very positive. In the last few weeks, we have finally seen decreased Montana COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations. Sadly, Montana has reached over 1000 deaths from COVID-19.  Please consider getting vaccinated when your phase is called (which will be explained below.) To give some relief for our still full hospitals, I am hoping that the prevalence of infections continues to become more manageable.  With more of our population becoming protected, and seemingly decreasing case counts, this is a crucial time to double down on the mitigation measures (distancing, masking and hygiene) shown to help slow the spread of COVID-19.  As we have already seen, less people ill from this virus also translates to a better business environment. Let’s begin the new year hopeful that these vaccinations and everyone’s continued hard work will finally bring a much-needed reprieve from this illness.

Below is an updated, brief summary of the Carbon County COVID-19 vaccination rollout. We are following MT DPHHS criteria for allocation of vaccines consistent with guidance from the Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices (ACIP.) Vaccination schedules depend on state vaccine availability, critical infrastructure groups, and those most at risk for severe disease from COVID-19. 

  • Phase 1A -Frontline Healthcare Workers, Long Term Care staff and residents.
  • Phase 1B – age 70 years and older, American Indians and other people of color who may be at elevated risk for COVID-19 complications, and persons aged 16-69 with high-risk medical conditions. Click here for a list of qualifying medical conditions.
  • Phase 1C -Frontline Essential Workers, persons 60 years and older, individuals residing in congregate care and correctional facilities, and persons aged 16-59 with medical conditions not listed in phase 1B. Click here for the list of those medical conditions.
  • Phase 2 – everyone else over 16 yrs. of age.

Please remember that vaccinations are still limited and Carbon Alert will update vaccine information when possible. We appreciate your patience!!!

Carbon County Public Health has developed a public survey that you can fill out to express your interest in receiving the COVID-19 vaccination when it becomes available. This survey will gather contact information and will allow Public Health to contact those interested when they are ready to schedule them. 

Please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/C27SG8P to complete the survey.

Thank you,

Bill George MD, Carbon County Public Health Officer

 

Other helpful links:

CDC/MT DPHHS Phased COVID-19 Vaccine distribution and other info:

https://dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/cdepi/diseases/coronavirusvaccine

CDC guidance for people at increased risk:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.htm

 

COVID-19 Testing!!!!!

Want to know how to get tested for COVID-19 locally? Below is a list of facilities in Carbon County and what their options are…

Mountainview Family Medicine in Red Lodge offers PCR testing for symptomatic patients by appointment with a provider, which can be in-person or virtual. Testing for individuals with no symptoms is not offered at this time. Please call 406-446-3800 to make an appointment.

RiverStone Health Clinics in Bridger and Joliet offer COVID-19 testing through appointment only. They have the options of PCR and rapid antigen testing, both requiring a provider visit. Asymptomatic testing is only available to those who are in close contact or required for work.

Below is the contact information for the RiverStone Clinics in Carbon County:

RiverStone Health-Bridger
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 8am-Noon and 1pm-5pm.
406-662-3740
RiverStone Health-Joliet
Tuesdays and Fridays 8am-Noon and 1pm-5pm.
406-962-9062

Beartooth Billings Clinic Red Lodge, offers COVID-19 testing to those who are symptomatic, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Beartooth offers drive-through PCR testing; in-person rapid testing is offered with a provider visit. If experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, call 406-446-2345 to speak with a nurse who prescreens to determine if a provider visit is needed or drive-through testing is appropriate, and will schedule a time for testing to be completed. Beartooth Billings Clinic does not provide testing to asymptomatic individuals.

Testing options and availability are subject to change. Calling your testing center to confirm is recommended.

At this time, if Public Health refers the individual to get tested due to a positive contact, Carbon County Public Health will provide results.

 

Carbon County COVID-19 Updates

Situation Updates and Letters from

Dr. Bill George,

Carbon County Public Health Officer

When vaccines arrive, Carbon County will begin offering COVID-19 vaccinations to persons included in Montana’s 1B Phase Group. This initial phase targets those most at risk for severe COVID disease. Generally, it includes anyone 70 years of age and older, people of color including Native Americans and other at-risk groups and those ages 16-69 years old with any of the nine listed high-risk medical conditions.

The vaccination process will look very different than receiving a flu shot. Limited supply arriving weekly will require to be placed on a list of vaccine interest, which will be notified via email or phone in the order you were placed on the list.

Phase 1B is a large group and will take several weeks to complete. Hopefully, Montana will begin vaccinating this group in the next two weeks. You may be called sooner if vaccines are available. There are three local organizations (see below) providing COVID-19 vaccines. Please, do not join more than one vaccine list. Thanks everyone for your patience. I am sure there will be important updates involving vaccine supplies, side effects and efficacy. We will do our best to keep you informed.

COVID-19 Carbon County vaccine providers:

-Carbon County Public Health. Vaccine interest survey (preferred) located at the top of this page. If unable access this form, or difficulty filling out call 446-9941 between the hours of 10am – 12-pm, Monday through Friday.
-Beartooth Billings Clinic. Call 406-446-2345, 7am-6pm Monday through Friday.
-Riverstone Health Clinics in Bridger and Joliet. call 406-662-3740. 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday.

Bill George MD, Carbon County Public Health Officer

Carbon County Public Health sadly reports another death due to COVID-19. The female age 103, brings the total death count to nine. Our deepest condolences to her family. Residents are asked to please continue to take precautionary measures around high-risk populations. Social distancing, hand washing, and masking up all help reduce the spread of the virus. Please continue checking for the latest COVID-19 information and statistics.

Carbon County Public Health reports another death due to COVID-19. The victim, a female in her 50’s, brings the total death count to eight. Please keep her family in your thoughts as we continue through the holiday season and into the new year. Public Health encourages you to remain mindful of precautionary measures including social distancing, masking up, and hand washing to avoid another spike in cases. 

Yesterday, a second COVID-19 vaccine was approved for Emergency Use by the FDA. Like the Pfizer vaccine, this vaccine, manufactured by Moderna, is a mRNA vaccine – described in the last update. Vaccine efficacy is over 95% after the second shot is received. Initially, it is reserved for those 18 yrs and older. Shipments will begin this weekend and we expect  vaccines to arrive in Carbon County in 1-2 weeks.

This vaccine is not as temperature sensitive, and therefore easier to store and distribute in smaller communities. The first phase of local vaccinations will be available to hospital staff, and those who work in emergency services including, ambulance, fire and law enforcement. High risk institutional residents and their staff will also be prioritized.

Vaccine rollouts, and delivery continues at record speed but the demand is great worldwide. Estimates on availability to the general public seem to agree on a timeline of this spring. On the positive side, that delay will give time for more data on efficacy and possible delayed side effects.

I mentioned that I would share my (and colleagues) experience with the Pfizer vaccine. We all noticed a short lived, injection site mild pain, while a few folks noted fatigue and a mild headache. Apparently, the data shows more side effects after the second shot.

Remember……Vaccines don’t end pandemics, vaccinations do!

Stay safe everyone and have a great Holiday season.

Bill George MD

Carbon County Public Health Officer

Ten months ago, on March 13, 2020, COVID-19 was first confirmed in a Montana resident. This week, the first vaccine to be approved for Emergency Use (EU) will arrive in Montana. There is a lot of excitement for COVID -19 vaccines as it may mean the beginning of the end for this pandemic, however, the unprecedented speed of vaccine development has caused concerns of safety and efficacy for many people. I hope these next several updates help with your decision whether to get vaccinated. There are several COVID-19 vaccines in development – differing in how they achieve immunity. We will try to keep you up to date on relevant data as it is being gathered and/or point you to credible resources which will keep us all informed in an easy-to-understand format. Health care providers working with COVID-19 patients are prioritized to be vaccinated. My research into the Pfizer vaccine (1st to be approved), and the independent process for emergency approval has given me the confidence to be vaccinated. I plan to share my own experience with the vaccine, along with feedback from my colleagues.

  • It is thought that at least 70% of people will need immunity either from the COVID vaccine or natural immunity from previous infection to achieve herd immunity and break widespread transmission.
  •  
  • Conventional vaccines work by exposing someone to a weakened or killed virus or piece of virus, causing a defense response (antibodies) which will attack the live virus if exposed. The first 2 vaccines available (Pfizer and Moderna) are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. These vaccines will direct your body to create a COVID -like spike protein which then your body will create a defense response against. Evidence suggests this process creates a safer and more precise vaccine. Although mRNA vaccines have been studied for many years, this is the first commercial large-scale use of this type of vaccine.
  •  
  • These mRNA vaccines have been shown to be approx. 95% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 disease. Although large populations were studied, the short time frame for follow up (2 months) left many questions unanswered – ongoing monitoring of vaccine recipients will likely resolve these.
  •  
  • Studies are ongoing to determine the duration of time the immunity lasts after the two-shot sequence as well as any delayed side effects that may occur from the vaccine. In addition, vaccine developers are continuing to study how easily an immunized person can transmit the virus if exposed. Finally, the vaccine has not yet been adequately studied in children and therefore not recommended for those under 16 years of age.
  •  
  • Details on vaccine supplies for Montana, timelines and priority groups should be available soon.

I know there is much more to discuss concerning these first vaccines, including potential side effects. A good, updated resource is the FAQ concerning COVID-19 vaccines by Mayo Clinic:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine

As you investigate and follow the rollout of these vaccines, please expect to hear disinformation from individuals and groups who oppose all vaccines. Reliable ongoing evidence of safety and efficacy will be available – remember, anecdote and evidence are not the same thing.

The end of a memorable 2020 finally brings hope to communities and health systems continuing to struggle the effects of this virus and the measures to control it. These new vaccines are a remarkable achievement that I believe may help finally put this pandemic behind us.

Bill George MD, Carbon County Public Health Officer

This is an important update for close contacts to positive COVID-19 patients. As we continue to learn how COVID-19 is transmitted by those without symptoms but have been designated a close contact to a positive COVID person, CDC has now reduced the quarantine period from 14 to 10 days. In other words, it seems that the risk of transmitting the virus after 10 days is small for those who continue to have no symptoms throughout that time. Remember, Day 0 in your count to 10 is the day that you were last exposed to the positive person. After 10 days you are still advised to watch for symptoms closely and practice the usual mitigation measures including masking in public, hand hygiene, avoiding crowds and high-risk individuals.

The other important news in this topic is that the 10 days discussed above can be shortened to 7 days. This is done by getting a test (PCR or rapid test) on at least day 5 of your quarantine. If this is negative and you still have no symptoms at day 7, then you are good to go – of course watching for symptoms closely and being careful with mitigation. Certainly, this path to 7 days assumes there is capacity of personnel and testing supplies for this purpose, and results are available in 48 hours from day 5. We will continue to prioritize using our tests to diagnose COVID -19 in symptomatic people.
Overall, considering the social, emotional, and economic harm of quarantine, this is good news for the management of the disease. We will continue to strive for the best access for quality testing with rapid results, which is crucial in our work to suppress this prevalent illness in our county, state, and nation.
This is the CDC link for this new update: https://www.cdc.gov/…/scientific-brief-options-to…

Bill George MD, Carbon County Public Health Officer

Carbon County Public Health is reporting 3 additional deaths of Carbon County residents due to COVID-19: Two males, ages 77 and 56 and one female age 89. The families and friends of these residents have our deepest sympathy of their loss to this tragic illness.

As expected with our rapidly increasing infection rate, we have numerous residents presently hospitalized due to COVID -19. Please keep these patients, as well as the families who are grieving their loss in your thoughts and prayers during this holiday season.

The recent devasting effects of this new illness in Montana and nationwide can bring a sense of futility to our situation. Please remember, these injuries and deaths are preventable and not inevitable. Careful attention to mask wearing, distance, and avoiding groups outside of your households will bring our infection rate down appreciably. This will create a safer environment for our most vulnerable, assure an open economy and operating schools as we wait for effective vaccines.  

Bill George MD, Carbon County Public Health Officer

Resources

Food and Essentials Resources

Church of the Rockies can help with picking up shopping, posting mail, and urgent supplies for those who are self-isolating. 

Call or text 406-425-4390 Leave a message, checking messages daily 

 

The Food Bank is open with modified access. Hours are the same.

The Board of Directors at BareTooth Cupboards is going to extra lengths and taking extra precautions to protect the health and safety of our volunteers and our customers.

The food bank will only be accepting “call in” orders from their customers beginning Thursday 3/26/20. No customers will be allowed in the store. Volunteers are available at regular hours to take orders and get food to people. 

See their website for more information and for an order form. 

BareTooth Cupboards

For the near a future, we will be accepting cash donations only, no food donations. Hopefully, we’ll be able to lift that restriction before too long but it’s necessary for now. Check Facebook for updates.

Located at 17 East 11th Street, Red Lodge, MT 59068
Phone: 406-446-1255
Hours: Monday & Wednesday 11:00-1:00. Tuesday & Thursday 3:00-5:00. Saturday 9:00-11:00

2nd and 4th Wednesday 9:30am – 11:30am call 406-662-1060 for details

The Joliet Food Pantry, located at 200 State Street in Joliet, is open most Mondays (excluding holiday Mondays and the 5th Monday of every month) from 9 to 1pm, and is here to serve those in need with monthly food baskets. It is required to some form of photo ID on the first visit, and some sort of statement that advises you are a Carbon County resident (i.e. utility bill.) With COVID-19 concerns, we have instituted a policy to keep everyone safe. When you arrive to the food bank, a mask must be worn upon entering the building. Please contact Stacey at 698-0275 or Ali at 672-7398 with questions.

Red Lodge Drug has reserved 9am  – 10 am for Seniors and High risk patrons. 

Please call 406-446-1017 for more information 

Harvest Hope School Food Pantry is delivering weekly food boxes to families of our students. If you would like a weekly grocery box please leave a message on the Red Lodge high school phone . (446-1903) or email cindy_luoma@redlodge.k12.mt.us.

WIC services are still provided for Carbon County. Please call Riverstone Health WIC 406-247-3370 as their office is closed and employees are working remotely. You can also refer to wic@riverstonehealth.org for more information.

 

Church of the Rockies, COVID-19 Community Assistance – Community Announcement

Dear Carbon County,

Over the last several years the Church of the Rockies has provided free community meals we call “Common Ground” to both Red Lodge and Roberts. Recent events have caused us to change the format of these meals. Although we can no longer meet together, we would like to offer free boxes with all the ingredients for your family’s dinner during this season.

If you would like us to deliver a box to your door, please don’t hesitate to contact Jon Milligan at 406-425-4390. When you call, you can specify the number of people and any allergies. 

We are also available to deliver groceries, do your shopping, and help fill other needs as they arise.

God Bless!

The Church of the Rockies



Mental Health and Crisis Resources

For Montanans who live far away from services, there are few options for receiving support for mental illness without traveling long distances. Since 2009,  Mental Health America of Montana has created a “Virtual Drop-in Center,” which utilizes the telephone and internet to provide home-based support services for people with mental illness.

The Recovery Line is for people with a mental illness who want to talk to a peer (that is, a person who is in recovery for his or her own mental illness) about issues they are facing in their lives or with their treatment. It provides a friendly and understanding person for those who just need someone to talk to.

The Recovery Line is NOT a crisis line. However, responders of the Recovery Line can refer people who are considering suicide or are otherwise in crisis to appropriate services. Through three-way calling, they can get emergency or crisis services on the call immediately.   

  • Call to start your Recovery today: 1(877) 688- 3377

    RESPONDERS CAN NOT CALL YOU BACK, SO PLEASE KEEP TRYING THE LINES, AND DO NOT LEAVE A MESSAGE – THANK YOU

    UPDATE: EXTENDED HOURS 8AM – 9PM MONDAY- FRIDAY. ALSO STARTING IN ARPIL SAT-SUN 12PM-9PM. SINCE WE FIND THE NEED TO HAVE OUR LINE OPEN LONGER BECAUSE OF THE CORONAVIRUS – WE ARE HERE TO HELP OUR COMMUNITIES WORK THROUGH THEIR MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS

Domestic and Sexual Violence Services (DSVS)serves Carbon and  Stillwater

HELPLINE: (406) 425-2222

DSVS Webpage

From DPHHS:

Mental Health America COVID-19 – Information and Resources

COVID-19 NAMI Resource and Information Guide

Parenting Montana – Provides easy-to-use parenting tools to support your child’s success from kindergarten through the teen years and includes information on topics such as stress, back-talk, meltdowns, creating routines, homework, and discipline, which may concerns during this stressful time.

Top Ten Tips Families During COVID-19

Stress and Coping

Stress, Resilience, and the Role of Science: Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with COVID-19

For More Information on Behavioral Health COVID-19 Resources visit SAMHSA Website