Gallatin City-County Health Department weighs in on jump in COVID-19 cases

COVID 19 drive-through
Posted at 9:20 AM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 11:22:09-04

BOZEMAN — Additional COVID-19 cases have recently been reported in Gallatin County in recent days but Health Officer Matt Kelley says this is not unexpected.

“We are seeing more cases and that’s concerning. What we also know is a lot of the cases that we’re finding are connected to other cases,” said Kelley.

That means the local health department’s contact tracing is working.

“We’re seeing some level of community transmission out there. But we’re seeing the cases that we’re getting tend to be connected to other people we know or have the disease,” Kelley said.

A few months ago, COVID-19 tests were limited, and in many cases, people who were showing symptoms were not always tested.

“We would identify somebody as a probable case because there was limited testing and we knew that they were probably going to end up being a case and we would just treat them like a case,” said Kelley.

“So if you had an individual who was a part of a nuclear family where you had one or two other people in the family, you might choose in the early days of the pandemic not to test those kids, not to test those people in the household and just treat them as cases.”

And unlike before, now there’s an option where you can be tested without an existing order from your provider.

The Price Rite Pharmacy in Bozeman began offering free PCR testing earlier this month.

“There’s antibody testing, there’s antigen testing, there’s all kinds of different testing. But that PCR test is a really good way, it’s probably the best way we have to identify people who have active disease,” said Kelley.

So more testing means we may be seeing more positives.

“We’re seeing a higher number of cases, although it’s not totally unexpected. We’re working really hard to limit the number of cases and that’s why we’re seeing our case counts right now. We’re doing quite a bit of testing of contacts of individuals who are known cases.”

You can stay up-to-date on the number of local COVID-19 cases by visiting the Gallatin City-County Health Department's website.