Yellowstone County Health Officer "nervous" about potential for coronavirus spread in September

Posted at 11:47 AM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 20:40:43-04

BILLINGS - Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton issued a warning Thursday, saying he is nervous about the potential spread of COVID-19 during September.

During a morning press conference, Felton encourage residents to be safe over the upcoming Labor Day holiday in order to prevent an increase of cases like was seen following the Fourth of July holiday.

Felton also said he will rescind a previous health order that banned spectators from school sporting events, instead allowing each school to develop its own plan for spectators at such events.

RiverStone Health will not approve the plans but health officials will give guidance and input on the plans, he said.

Felton said one of the biggest challenges for the health agency is contract tracing because people are not answering or returning calls so cases can be traced.

Felton also looked back at COVID-19 numbers for the month of August in Yellowstone County. A total of 1,045 residents were infected last month, doubling the total case count over the past four-and-a-half months. Currently in Yellowstone County, 65 are people hospitalized and nine on ventilators.

Felton says with 117 new cases in September, things are looking rough.

Felton announced he will rescind the order restricting spectators at sporting events and will put the responsibility on individual districts in the county to come up with a plan. Felton also amended the order for nursing home visits. Starting Sept. 14, outdoor visitation will be allowed at facilities that are not reporting any coronavirus cases. Restrictions like wearing masks and social distancing remain in effect.

Watch the full press conference in the video below:

RiverStone Health Press Conference 9-3-20

RELATED: Montana reports 2 additional deaths, 184 new COVID-19 cases (Thursday, Sept. 3)