Spanish Influenza Epidemic: Week 7

Week 7
November 17 – November 23, 1918

Sunday, November 17, 1918 – Tuesday, November 19, 1918

It was reported that there were 113 new cases of influenza and 16 deaths from November 16 to 17th. There had been 416 new cases of the flu this week compared to 219 for the previous week. To prevent the spread of illness, the board ordered the streets to be flushed as often as possible.

By November 19, an additional 121 cases were reported from 25 doctors and it was decided that drastic measures would again need to be taken to keep the public safe from the flu.

The following Resolution was introduced, but in the end, the resolution was rejected due to differing opinions about whether the closing of businesses would end the epidemic.

The_Butte_Miner_Sun__Nov_17__1918_
Butte Miner, November 17, 1918

Whereas, it appears to the County Board of Health of Silver Bow County, Montana, that the epidemic of Spanish Influenza is again reaplidy increasing, and

Whereas, it is further made to appear to said Board that one of the causes of the spreading of said disease is the congregating of people in public places and upon the public streets and highways;

Therefore, be it resolved, that all places of business and amusements, including churches and schools, be, and the same are hereby ordered closed; excepting, however, food supply stores, restaurants, and boarding houses.

Be it further resolved, that clothing stores be opened only for the purpose of supplying absolute necessities and that drug stores by opened only for the purpose of supplying necessities and filling prescriptions.

Be it further resolved, that all clerks, waiters, and waitresses be required to wear masks.

Be it further resolved, that at no time shall any number of persons congregate upon the public streets and highways of the City of Butte and upon the public highways of the County of Silver Bow; and the sheriff of Silver Bow County and the Chief of Police of the City of Butte are hereby directed to stringently enforce this Resolution.

Wednesday, November 20, 1918 – Thursday, November 21, 1918

One hundred new cases of influenza were reported from 24 doctors and 9 deaths had occurred in the previous 24 hours. Realizing that some action would need to be taken to slow down the spread of the flu, the board ordered that no signs advertising sales could be displayed, bargain sales be prohibited, and that no congestion was to be allowed in saloons.

By November 21, an additional 84 new cases of influenza and 7 deaths were reported. The board still remained hesitant to close any businesses but did make the following order regarding deaths and funerals:

That all bodies of persons dying of influenza, of pneumonia, or infectious diseases must be put in a casket within 24 hours after death, with head and face wrapped, and casket closed.

Friday, November 22, 1918

The_Butte_Miner_Fri__Nov_22__1918_.jpg
Butte Miner, November 22, 1918

Secretary Freund reported 127 new cases of influenza from 27 doctors and 15 deaths. Freund felt that while the number of new cases reported was larger, the number of doctors reporting were much larger than previously so he did not feel the situation was as serious as it was during the first wave of the outbreak. The board decided the best method to fight the flu would be to adopt a strict quarantine. As a result, the board made the following order:

To appoint 6 contagious guards at a salary of $125 per month to enforce the quarantine of all residences and places where the influenza exists.

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