Gallatin County health officials address rise in COVID-19 cases

Posted at 12:40 PM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 14:40:02-04

The Gallatin City-County Health Department (GCCHD) held a virtual press conference Wednesday to talk about the rise in new positive cases in the county.

Health Officer Matt Kelley said GCCHD is now seeing the virus spread among various groups of people and locations throughout the county.

"Prior to last week, we were finding cases within a social group of young people who frequented bars and parties together,” said Kelley. “More recently this week, we've found cases in multiple workplace settings, including among people who work construction, the tourism industry and in other settings."

Kelley said Big Sky is doing surveillance testing for the public, and he's eager to see if those results produce any more positive cases in the coming days and weeks.

But the new cases bring up a bigger question: Will Gallatin County mandate wearing masks out in public?

Kelly said he's gotten an ear-full on this, but the health department isn't ready to make a decision yet.

"My hope is that people will come to be wearing a mask as a simple act of courtesy to people around us, the same as covering a sneeze or washing your hands. That's a big decision, that's a community decision, and it's not something that we're going to do overnight," he explained.

"The Board of Health has voiced an interest [in] hearing from the public and really sharing the best science that we have out there. It will be a board of health decision whatever happens," Kelly added.

While the debate of masks is ongoing, Kelley said the health department does not currently have plans to re-implement large-scale restrictions like in Phase One.