Resiliency of Flathead folks will see us through crisis

March 22, 2020 1:00 AM

So here we are, chest-deep in the uncharted waters of the novel coronavirus pandemic that seems to have flooded every crevasse of our daily lives.

With a flood of ever-changing information about how this virus is tracking across America and many questions still to be answered about how bad things will get — or not — it’s hard not to be anxious. We’re scared our loved ones could contract this fast-moving virus. We’re afraid we ourselves might succumb to the disease. These are valid concerns to be sure, but we can’t let fear win the day.

Let’s take a deep breath and thoughtfully consider the state of the Flathead at this point in time. Yes, our day-to-day routines have been upended in big ways, but it’s not the end of the world.

Flathead County has declared a state of emergency, which on face value seems like a big, scary thing. This is simply a tactical maneuver that allows the county to gain access to emergency funding that the county will need to prepare for and manage a possible local outbreak of the coronavirus. Flathead County reported the first two confirmed cases of the virus on Friday, and that number may have increased by the time this is published.

In times of trial our Flathead Valley residents are at their best. That was proven time and time again last week. The Surplus Flathead Valley group on Facebook is connecting local residents with those who need help. Thousands of locals have joined on to make sure mothers get formula for their babies and others in need are hooked up with needed supplies.

The Whitefish Community Foundation has activated a Community Emergency Response Fund to financially help nonprofits impacted by the virus threat and still need to help their clients. An initial fund of $150,000 has been committed and donors are contributing more.

Teachers and families were thrown a real curve ball when the governor ordered schools closed for two weeks, with the real possibility the closure could last until the end of the school year. But educators are adapting to online instruction, and parents are getting creative, too, in how they’re handling the sudden challenge of having their kiddos home day after day.

Everyone is improvising in this new reality, from churches holding online worship services to restaurants reconfiguring their operations to drive-up, take-out and delivery alternatives.

We’re fortunate to live in the Flathead Valley, where social distancing is not a problem. We have thousands of unspoiled acres where we can walk, hike, run, bike and fish.

Here at the Daily Inter Lake we are working feverishly to provide the most up-to-date information available about how our local health-care facilities are managing the virus threat and preparing for what could be an onslaught of sick people before all is said and done.

The Inter Lake is publishing a daily online newsletter of all the latest news connected with the coronavirus pandemic, even including a list of restaurants offering to-go or delivery service. Go to our website at to sign up for the newsletter.

Is this the calm before the storm? No one knows, but what we do know with absolute certainty is that the resilience of Flathead Valley folks is second to none. We will help one another, and we will get through this, together.