Official: Self-quarantine if traveled out of Park County

By 
Sam Klomhaus — Enterprise Staff Writer
Monday, March 23, 2020

An open letter by Livingston HealthCare Chief Medical Officer Scott Coleman recommended people who have traveled outside Park County self-quarantine for 14 days upon return to limit spread of COVID-19.

Travel outside Park County should be severely restricted or cease entirely, Coleman said. 

The next three weeks present an opportunity to avert much of the suffering being seen in other locations, Coleman wrote.

“Our businesses must understand that should we be successful in avoiding a surge of infections, we will also be poised for an earlier and faster recovery,” Coleman wrote. “This message must reach all Park County Residents. Each of us controls our collective destiny. We must not just enforce our own behavior in this crisis, but be outspoken and enforce and educate others around us. There is too much at stake.”

Coleman wrote that thorough hand-washing and disinfecting, as well as social distancing, are necessary when making local trips to the grocery store, hardware store or pharmacy.

 “There is ample evidence that social isolation, readily available testing early in the development of symptoms, tracking contacts, and enforcing quarantines can prevent a catastrophic surge in infections,” Coleman wrote. “Preventing a surge of infections allows health care systems to care properly for the patients that truly need care and can dramatically increase survival.”

Coleman said his biggest fear is that the larger communities in Montana are not testing extensively, and will not discover community spread until it is too late (four confirmed cases this weekend in Bozeman indicated the presence of community spread).

Coleman fears that the development of community spread in Bozeman will lead to Park County residents becoming exposed in Bozeman.

“We are very fortunate in Park County that we have been given the gift of time; our extensive testing cautiously suggests that we do not have community spread at this moment,” Coleman wrote. “Therefore, we have an opportunity that others around the world and country have not had.”

Coleman noted at the end of the letter that the letter reflect’s his personal opinion and not that of Livingston HealthCare.

The entire letter can be read at: https://www.facebook.com/livingstonmtschools/photos/pcb.1520069551489312....