The less you travel, the better, doctor says

Sam Klomhaus — Enterprise Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Livingston HealthCare Medical Director Dr. Scott Coleman said Tuesday Park County has been given a gift of a head start fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Every day allows personnel in Park County to buy time to increase knowledge, improve technology, provide protective gear and find a way forward, Coleman said.

There were no reported cases in Park County as of press time, but there were 16 cases in Gallatin County and seven cases in Yellowstone County.

Coleman cautioned recent travelers to self-quarantine because they may have picked up the virus in, for example, an airport.

When quarantining, Coleman said, it’s important to think about the entire household, not just an individual, and stay isolated until the recommended 14-day period has passed or the virus has run its course.

For the time being, the extent of community spread in Montana isn’t known, Coleman said, but the less Park County residents travel to places like Bozeman and Billings that may have community spread, the safer they’ll be from spreading the virus within Park County.

There are reasons for Park County residents to  travel to Bozeman if they need something they can’t get in Livingston, Coleman said, and some people live in Bozeman and work in Park County. However, he said, it’s best to not spend entire days going to different stores and other activities.

“That’s the type of interaction we should try to avoid,” Coleman said.

People going between places should remember to practice social distancing of at least 6 feet and disinfect hands and other surfaces such as cell phones before coming into contact with their face or common surfaces that could be touched by other people, he said.

If Park County gets through the pandemic relatively unscathed, Coleman said, that frees up resources from here for other places to help fight the virus.

Coleman also reminded people we’re all in this together.

“It’s not us against them,” he said.