Ravalli County Public Health has reported a continuing rise in COVID-19 cases, as there have been throughout the state. In a Wednesday news release from Tiffany Webber, the department noted that community transmission of the disease is high with 113 open cases Wednesday, which added 10 more cases in Thursday morning's report from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS).

The DPHHS reported 19 new Ravalli County infections Wednesday and 32 new cases Thursday morning. Checking a few of the other counties in the state Thursday morning - DPHHS listed Missoula County with 86 new cases, Flathead with 112, Yellowstone County with 124, Cascade County with 100 and Gallatin County with 53. Fully immunized Montanans were over 464,000 as of this week, and over 121,000 people have recovered from COVID-19, while over 1,800 deaths have been attributed to COVID.

Health officials are strongly recommending vaccinations to decrease severity of the disease and to slow the spread. You should also talk to your doctor or pediatrician about the vaccines. Ravalli County Health continues to call those who have tested positive for COVID and will recommend guidance to families and those who have been in close contact with someone infected.

Masks are highly recommended when you're indoors and in close contact settings. Public Health also recommends that if you have been previously vaccinated, yet come in close contact with COVID, you should mask for 14 days. If an unvaccinated person is exposed to the virus, you should quarantine and avoid crowds and poorly ventilated areas. Also, if you're sick, stay home.

Though the department wished everyone a "happy and healthy time at the fair," they also cautioned that "we are entering another critical time where each of us needs to do whatever we can to reduce the spread within our community." More information can be found on the Ravalli County website.

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