GALLATIN MEDIA CENTER
The Gallatin City-County Health Department (GCCHD) Health Officer has signed an order requiring people who have tested positives for COVID-19 to stay at home, and for people who have been identified by the Health Department as close contacts to a known case to also stay at home.
In signing the order on Monday, April 7, 2020, GCCHD Health Officer Matt Kelley said the order will not change requirements for the vast majority of individuals who are making a good-faith effort to stay at home after being diagnosed or while awaiting test results. The main purpose of the order, he said, is to give public health officials and law enforcement tools to use in the rare event that someone is unwilling or unable to stay at home.
“Virtually everyone we are working with has been incredibly cooperative in staying home to protect themselves and their community,” Kelley said. “This order is a tool for the Health Department that we can use to be prepared if we have a situation where someone is not being cooperative.
Kelley stressed, “For the general public, we still just need them to pay attention and heed the governor’s stay-at-home directive to their best ability. The order I signed Monday is most relevant to people who the health department contacts because they are a known case or a close contact of a known case. We will provide guidance and support to help them do the right thing and have the support they need.”
Isolation is a critical component of reducing the spread of COVID-19 by separating sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.
The order requires the following:
- All people with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing) who have a test result for COVID-19 pending or who have been identified by GCCHD as a close contact of someone who is a known case for COVID-19, shall stay in a quarantine location;
- All people who test positive for COVID-19 must remain in isolation at their home or recovery facility except to receive medical care and can only discontinue isolation after being released by GCCHD staff.
Conditions of quarantine and isolation are similar and include, if possible: keeping separated from people and animals; staying in a separate sick room; using a separate bathroom cleaning all high-touch surfaces daily; covering coughs and sneezes; washing hands often; avoiding sharing personal household items; getting food in a way that doesn’t require face-to-face contact with others or entry into the isolation location; contacting a health care provider if symptoms worsen; avoiding public transportation and wearing a face mask when attending a medical appointment.
GCCHD staff contact every positive patient in Gallatin County as part of their contact investigation, then reach out to anyone who has been in close contact with those patients. A team of GCCHD public health nurses and social workers then guides people throughout their time in isolation or quarantine, offering support to make sure their needs are met.
“These orders work hand in hand with other local and state measures, like the stay-at-home order, to help slow the spread of COVID-19, protect vulnerable citizens, and keep our healthcare system from getting overwhelmed,” Kelley said.
Kelley reiterated that the order would primarily be used by the Health Department to manage known cases or individuals who the health department has identified as close contacts with a known COVID-19 case.
Read the full order here.
The Gallatin City-County Health Department Call Center is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to answer questions about COVID-19. Reach the Call Center by phone at 406-548-0123 or email at email@example.com.
The most accurate local source of information remains the GCCHD website https://www.healthygallatin.org/coronavirus-covid-19/ .