COVID-19 reminders issued as new cases pop up in Missoula County

Posted at 11:06 AM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 13:06:48-04

MISSOULA — Missoula County is seeing additional COVID-19 case as the state continues to open up.

MTN News spoke with Incident Commander Cindy Farr, who offered some insight into the coronavirus situation.

Since the start of Phase 2 reopening of Montana on June 1, the state has seen an increase of 115 COVID cases.

Incident commander Cindy Farr attributes a number of factors to the uptick.

"It could potentially be that we do have a lot more people coming in from out of state it could also be that you know a lot of people have gotten pretty complacent," Farr said.

A lack of people wearing facemasks, less social distancing, and a higher capacity limit at bars and restaurants certainly isn’t helping.

"Yeah, it is actually more important than ever that people continue to practice those safe behaviors," Farr said.

There is now community spread of COVID-19 being seen in Missoula County which is why Farr’s team is asking the community to stay vigilant in following protocols.

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

Farr notes 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 having shut down Montana and really keeping our members pretty low it bought us some time so that we could get those supplies that we needed," she said.

If COVID cases continue to increase -- as Farr suspects will -- she wants to remind people that taking care of their 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 just take a little break?' 'Do I need to mentally check out for a couple of days'?"

Farr also noted that staffing at the Missoula City-County Health Department is low and they have multiple open positions for nurses, call takers, and schedulers.

There were two newly confirmed Missoula County cases reported on both Wednesday and Thursday.

There have been 46 cumulative COVID-19 cases -- including two epi-linked -- in Missoula County as well as one death.