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County sees record 80 new COVID cases; employers urged to help slow spread
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County sees record 80 new COVID cases; employers urged to help slow spread


Eighty new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Lewis and Clark County Monday, shattering the previous single-day record of 39.

Lewis and Clark Public Health officials urged employers within the county to "work with Public Health by immediately instituting and enforcing prevention protocols" in a new release sent out Tuesday.

"Many cases of COVID-19 are tied to employees knowingly going to work, despite having symptoms or while waiting on test results," the news release stated. "In some cases, employers asked workers to return, knowing they were listed as close contacts to a positive case."

Health officials further urged employers to check temperatures, screen employees, encourage infected employees to cooperate with contact tracers and "adhere to any physical distancing, masking and other orders and mandates set in place by the state government and the local health department."

"As the infection rate continues to rise in our community, so does the need for businesses to prepare for impacts associated with staffing shortages tied to a positive case or contacts to a positive case in the workplace," said Eric Merchant, Lewis and Clark Public Health’s disease control and prevention division administrator. "We urge all businesses to have a plan, and to plan in advance, rather than reacting to such a situation."

According to the health department's local COVID-19 dashboard, the 80 new cases of the deadly virus bring the county's total active cases to 676.

Since September, 747 Lewis and Clark County residents have been found to have contracted the virus. There were 214 cases within the county between the first infection recorded March 20 and Aug. 31.

The age group with the most cases was 20 to 29, with 208. Residents age 50 to 59 had the second-highest number of cases with 151.

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Local Government and Crime Reporter

Nolan Lister is a reporter at the Helena Independent Record with an emphasis on local government and crime.

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