Reminder issued as Missoula's COVID-19 becomes community spread

COVID-19 sign
Posted at 10:08 PM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 11:39:48-04

MISSOULA — Montana has seen an increase of 115 COVID-19 cases since the start of Montana’s Phase 2 reopening on June 1.

Missoula County COVID-19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr attributes a number of factors to the uptick.

“It could potentially be that we have a lot more people coming in from out of state, it could also be that a lot of people have gotten pretty complacent.”

A lack of mask wearing and social distancing -- along with a higher capacity limit at bars and restaurants certainly isn’t helping.

“It’s actually more important now than ever that people continue to practice those safe behaviors,” said Farr.

There is currently community spread of COVID-19 in Missoula County and the health department is asking the community to stay vigilant in following protocol.

“I know that people don't want to hear people like me saying we have to get used to the new normal,” said Farr. “But until we either have a vaccine or the virus blows through enough of the population and we know that we can get long term immunity from the virus. "I think it's gonna be a while before it goes away.”

There are some areas that are looking up with Farr saying that testing supplies, hospital space, and even the recent purchase of the Sleepy Inn Motel for non-congregant shelter has placed Missoula County in a pretty stable position.

“By the governor shutting down Montana and really keeping our numbers pretty low, it bought us some time so that we could get the supplies we needed," Farr told MTN News.

One area that could use a little help is the Missoula City-County Health Department itself as they have multiple open positions for nurses, call takers and schedulers.

If COVID cases continue to increase -- as Farr suspects they will, she is reminding people that taking care of your mental health is just as important as your physical health right now.

“It is really important for people to do a little self-check-in once in a while and say, 'you know, do I need to take a little break?', Do I need to mentally check out for a couple of days'?" Farr said,

Two additional COVID-19 cases were reported in Missoula County on Wednesday.

There have been 44 confirmed COVID-19 cases and two epi-linked cases in the county. One person has died and there have been 40 recoveries from COVID-19.