COVID-19 cases jump in Missoula; health board to consider mask ordinance

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Posted at 9:32 AM, Jul 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-07 11:32:09-04

MISSOULA — Missoula County logged more than 20 new cases of COVID-19 over the Independence Day weekend, including 14 on Monday, bringing its running total to more than 123 confirmed cases and several hundred close contacts.

With the case count on the rise and the virus spreading across the community, the Missoula City-County Health Board will convene a special hearing this week to discuss an ordinance requiring face masks in all indoor public places.

The proposal already has the support of both city and county leaders, who urged county health officials to implement the proposal sooner than later. That could come to fruition on Thursday depending upon the health board’s decision.

“We’re no longer in a time of COVID-19 being brought in from the outside,” said Cindy Farr, head of the pandemic response. “A lot of people think it’s coming in from travelers. We’re giving it to each other. We’re giving it to our friends, our family and coworkers.”

One month ago, Missoula County had reported just 44 known cases while the state was at 614. That was just two weeks removed from Phase 2 of the state’s economic reopening.

Since then, Missoula County has more than doubled its case count. It now stands at 123 cumulative cases with 58 considered active. The state has reported more than 1,250 cases – nearly double one month ago.

Farr said Missoula County has around 320 known contacts and no current hospitalizations due to the virus.

“They will continue being monitored and supported as needed,” said Farr. “If our nurses contact you, it’s because you were identified as a close contact through their case investigation. Please be respectful and cooperative, as they’d doing the best they can to protect the public.”

Residents can comment on the proposed face mask ordinance by following this link.