Missoula County Health: “Children Should Wear Masks,” Demands Unvaccinated “Do So Immediately”
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Citing an increase in alleged COVID-19 hospitalizations, Missoula County Health Department Director D’Shane Barnett announced in a press release on Tuesday that all Missoulians should mask their faces again, “especially” children 11 years old or younger and that people who have chosen not to take the COVID-19 injection, “should do so immediately.”
According to the press release, just 12 individuals who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 are currently in the hospital in Missoula County. The health department did not indicate whether or not these individuals had a clinical infection of COVID-19, only that they are in the hospital with a positive test result. The health department also claimed that the twelve individuals was the most COVID-19 patients the community had seen since April 20, 2021.
“With the highly transmissible Delta variant present in our community, those who are old enough to get vaccinated should do so immediately. Children 11 and younger especially should wear masks, social distance, and frequently sanitize their hands until a vaccine is approved in their age group,” Barnett shared.
According the most recent Montana Hospital Occupancy and Capacity Status Report dated July 26th, of the 2,931 hospital beds in Montana, only 81 (or 2.7%) of beds are currently taken by a patient with a reported positive PCR test result for SARS-CoV-2. There are no indications that these represent clinical infections of COVID-19.
The report also shows that there are 1,045 hospital beds available across Montana. The state report does not break out data about other ailments patients may be receiving care for, only isolating alleged COVID-19 patients. Data for patients hospitalized with heart disease, pneumonia, or drug-related overdoses was not available.
With the recent report of the CDC withdrawing their request for Emergency Use Authorization for the COVID-19 PCR-based test and the CDC’s encouragement of providers to find a replacement test that can differentiate influenza and SARS-CoV-2, it is not clear that there are even 81 active cases of clinical infections of COVID-19 in Montana hospitals.
The EUA for the COVID-19 PCR test will not be formally withdrawn until December 31, 2021, according to the CDC announcement. That could mean that testing providers like Missoula County and hospitals will still be using tests which have been shown to have problems at high cycle thresholds. The Missoula County health department and the county board of health admitted in early February that they were not aware of the cycle threshold value used on tests they administered despite guidance from the World Health Organization to mind cycle threshold values.
The press release also included a note from Cindy Farr, Health Promotion Director, who has been in charge of much of the marketing distributed from the health department regarding COVID-19. In the note she admonished those who have chosen not to be take the COVID-19 injection saying, “We are at a critical point where those who have been delaying their vaccines, those who have been hesitating, need to step forward and protect themselves and our community. We have come too far to slide back now.”
Research collected by the UK Bristol Royal Hospital for Children found that just 0.005% of children or young people who catch the coronavirus die as a result of the infection. They also found that even among adults, early research suggests the coronavirus is mild in four out of five cases.
In June, a group of parents in Alachua, Florida sent six of their children’s masks to the lab at the University of Florida for testing. The resulting report found that five masks were contaminated with bacteria, parasites, and fungi, including three with dangerous pathogenic and pneumonia-causing bacteria. Although the test was capable of detecting viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, only one virus was found on one mask (alcelaphine herpesvirus 1).
A parent who submitted their child’s mask for the study commented, “We need to know what we are putting on the faces of our children each day. Masks provide a warm, moist environment for bacteria to grow.”
School boards around Montana have been keeping mask mandates at the discretion of Superintendents including in Billings Public Schools and in Missoula at Hellgate Elementary. Missoula County Public Schools is expected to announce their face masking policy before the return to school in the fall.
Despite school board edicts, Montana students who object to wearing masks at school will be protected by a new Montana law passed in the legislature this most recent session. HB-501 modifies Montana Criminal Trespass Code to exempt individuals from having to wear a mask in public places paid for in whole or part by taxpayers. That includes schools.
“It does not constitute criminal trespass when a person who lacks proof of vaccination or vaccination status or fails to wear a specific medical device, such as masks or other facial coverings, enters or remains in a public place paid for in whole or in part with taxpayer funds where proof of vaccination or use of medical devices, such as masks or other facial coverings, is required.”Section 45-6-203, Montana Code Annotated. Bill Text.