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Update on coronavirus from Tribal Health, our staff is ready

To All Employees under CSKT including SKC, corporations, SKHA and all affiliated entities under the tribal government

All non-essential work-related travel is restricted. If there are questions, contact Council.

Employees who want to travel on their own time to known hot spots, which now includes most of the United States and (China, Iran, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Italy), are not guaranteed leave. Their PTO requests may be rejected by their supervisor.

Employees who do travel to known hot spots, upon their return, they will be asked to remain out of the work place for 14 days. That time from work will not be covered by Administrative leave. That time from work must be covered by the employee’s PTO

We are nearing spring break when many students are either returning to their homes here from hot states. If a student is in an employee’s home, we ask that you monitor your student to ensure they do not exhibit signs of infection. If you see an infection in your home, please report to your supervisor.

  Currently, as of March 9, there are no confirmed coronavirus cases in Montana. Eleven people have been tested and the results came back negative. There have been a total of 28 patients on home monitoring across the state because of various risk factors, mainly returning from China. (Of those, 19 have cleared the isolation period, nine remain in isolation.) None of those are confirmed cases of infection. Overall the risk is low in our community as we do not have any active cases in Montana. However, in our global community, this could change rapidly.

There are still many risk factors for possible spread. It is important to be prepared.

Symptoms can range from mild respiratory illness like the common cold to more severe complications like pneumonia, respiratory failure and death. 

Who is at risk for coronavirus? 

  • Fever OR signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness AND

Close contact with known COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset

  • Fever AND signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness requiring hospitalization AND

History of travel from affected areas with widespread transmission within 14 days of symptom onset: China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea

  • Fever with severe acute lower respiratory illness requiring hospitalization and with no alternative explanation like influenza AND

No source of exposure has been identified

Individuals who have a travel history to or from China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea in the past 14 days, who are not exhibiting symptoms such as fever and symptoms of a lower respiratory illness such as cough or shortness of breath are placed on home isolation and are monitored for 14 days. Our Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator/Community Health Nurse, Tammy Matt is the one coordinating this service. She has been working with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), as well as Lake County and Missoula City/County Health Departments. Plans are in place that dictate steps that staff would take should a person at risk for coronavirus be identified. She has been planning trainings and in-services for Tribal Health staff to ensure that they are properly trained to handle a potential Coronavirus patient. Tammy has been working closely with Brian Crawford, Tribal Safety Officer/Sanitarian to ensure client safety to anyone who may be accessing healthcare at our Tribal Health facilities. The health and safety of our clients and staff are our primary concerns.

What can be done in the community?

  1. Stay home when you are sick with respiratory illness.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water (at least 20 seconds) and/or alcohol base sanitizers.
  3. Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissues, then throw it away.
  4. Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and objects (i.e. phones, doorknobs, remotes)
  5. If you believe you may have the coronavirus or at high risk, contact your local health facility. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.   

Tribal Health wants you to be prepared as you seek out regular health care. You will be asked to wear a mask if you have a cough. You will be asked screening questions on whether you have had recent travel to China. This is standard through all medical facilities. If there is concern for suspected coronavirus, health providers will wear gloves, masks, gowns. Thank you for reading this and please share with others, and look for future updates.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases,

In addition Council strongly advises the public to take precautions to limit their exposure to public places, crowds and events. Also, consider limiting handshakes and hugs.

This comes in the middle of basketball season. It is strongly advised that everyone follow CDC guidelines that include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel.
  • Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease.
  • Travelers should avoid contact with sick people and clean their hands often by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%–95% alcohol.
  • Travelers should stay home for 14 days after returning to the United States and practice social distancing.
  • Travelers that are sick with fever, cough, or have trouble breathing should call ahead before seeking medical care.

The Tribal Health staff is monitoring the situation, which is changing daily. Regular updates will be provided.