Celebrating Halloween safely
Madison County COVID update
From Oct. 20-Oct. 26, Madison County confirmed 27 new coronavirus cases. One Madison County resident is currently hospitalized, and 112 residents are in quarantine, up seven from last week.
As individuals quarantine for the 14-day time period, Madison County Public Health Nurse Melissa Brummell explained about half the total drops off the quarantine list one week and half are added the next week.
“As people drop off, people keep getting added because of all the new cases,” Brummell said.
With rising cases in mind, Brummell offered safe trick or treating tips for Halloween during the pandemic. “Obviously the safest thing is no trick or treating but the next safest thing is to stay in your family group,” she said.
Staying in family groups— parents and children together—will help limit the spread to other family groups, helping to minimizing the scope of potential infections. Maintaining social distance by not lingering at neighbors’ front doors and carrying hand sanitizer to use before eating treats were also recommended.
“That’s going to be really important this year so we’re not eating our germs,” Brummell said.
She suggests those who are wearing costumes without a mask to wear a mask and mentioned some social distance-friendly candy handing strategies: provide baggies of candy for trick or treaters to pick up to eliminate multiple hands going into one candy bowl, or get creative with decorations and make a candy shoot to slide treats down to costumed individuals.
Ben Boyce, a Missoula resident, starting building candy shoots to allow his immune-compromised mother to still enjoy the holiday festivities. All it takes is some PVC pipe and a zip tie.
“It takes a little bit of time, but makes it a little bit more fun,” Boyce said in an interview with KURL8.
Trick or treating can be done safely, but Brummell expects a rise in cases post-Halloween. It is human nature for groups to gather and if this happens, case numbers will rise, she said. Furthermore, the increase of cases would be in the school or daycare-aged population, which would impact school systems and parents.
As of 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning, Montana reported 855 new coronavirus cases according to the daily update provided by the Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force. Madison County reported five new cases.