Keep masking up, Madison County! Face coverings will continue to be required in public spaces for the next two months. PHOTO BY JOLENE PALMER

Health department extends mask mandate for 60 days

Vaccine doses arriving at 100 per week

On Jan. 26 the Madison County Health Department issued an order to extend the current mask mandate for all residents and businesses for 60 days in Madison County, requiring anyone in public to wear a face covering.

The mandate came as the department reported 20 new cases of Covid-19 in the county for the week of Jan. 25, with 33 active cases. That followed the week of Jan. 18 when 70 new cases were registered in the county. Madison County has surpassed the higher-populated Beaverhead County in active cases for nearly a month.

Even if Governor Greg Gianforte’s plan, announced in early January to lift the statewide mask mandate “after more vulnerable people receive vaccines and the Legislature sends him a bill to protect businesses, schools, churches and nonprofits from lawsuits if they follow public health guidelines” goes through, the public health department’s mandate would supersede that ruling.

The MCPHD board will meet on March 16 at 5:30 p.m. to review the mask mandate once more.

In addition to continuing to require wearing masks, the MCPHD is working collaboratively with local health centers for the distribution and administration of Covid vaccines. Approximately 100 doses per week are being received throughout Madison County, based on population.

As of Feb. 1, 106,121 Covid vaccine doses have been administered in Montana, 26,388 doses in full with both shots. In Madison County 395 doses have been given, 31 in full. To follow these numbers as they’re updated, visit https://www.madisoncountymt. gov/230/Public-Health.

Residents looking to receive a coronavirus vaccine that fall under Phase 1B are asked to immediately contact either the Madison County Medical Center or the Ruby Valley Medical Center to get on the wait list. The facilities will contact individuals on the waitlist to schedule appointments and are asking eligible recipients to only sign up with one of the facilities, not both.

During the Jan. 26 MCPHD board meeting MCPHD Nurse Melissa Brummell explained that signing up at just one facility ensures the vaccine is administered as expediently as possible.

“When the vaccine actually comes in, people are being called, and they’re already vaccinated, and it wastes the staff’s time,” she said. “Please pick a side of the hill, whichever side you’d like to receive the vaccine.”

Brummell told the MCPHD board that there has been a lot of continued communication with the state regarding the vaccine in Madison County. “They are well aware that 100 doses per week for Madison County… that it isn’t as much as we would like it to be, but it is a place to start,” she said. “They’re trying to figure out where the bottlenecks with the vaccines are and trying to get more distributed out to us.”

More Information

The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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