If you’re sick...

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

There are a variety of viruses and bacterial infections floating around as cold and flu season ramps up. The coronavirus pandemic added a new dimension, forcing area health officials to be more careful about having residents walk in to medical facilities.

Residents with respiratory symptoms should not go straight to the emergency room or hospital if they are sick, but should call their doctor first. Local providers have ramped up “telehealth” options to do consultations over the telephone or through videoconferencing as needed, and they will determine if a person needs to come in physically for an examination or test.

Respiratory symptoms of concern include cough, sinus or lung congestion, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, headache, fever or body aches. COVID-specific symptoms include a loss of taste or smell along with other respiratory symptoms.

COVID-19 specific tests can be performed at Barrett Hospital, the Southwestern Montana Community Health Center or Beaverhead County Public Health. COVID-19 tests are only for people with symptoms at this time. A person’s first stop should be to call their health provider at Barrett Hospital and HealthCare Clinic (406-683-1188) or the Community Health Center (406-683-4440). Those without a primary care provider can call either location.

University of Montana Western students should call CHC or the UMW COVID Coordinator (406-865-0853). The CHC is the university’s health provider.

Beaverhead County residents currently are required to wear masks per Gov. Steve Bullock’s order. Barrett Hospital Dr. Sandra McIntyre added masks can help protect against other fall illnesses, including COVID-19.

For more information about Beaverhead County COVID-19 cases, visit Beaverhead County Public Health’s Facebook page or website (https://beaverheadcounty.org/departments/ public-health/).