MISSOULA — The continued rise in COVID-19 cases has prompted the Missoula City-County Health Department to issue new guidance.
The health department notes there is currently a four-day notification delay as contact tracers work to call thousands of close contacts to inform them that they must quarantine.
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MCCHD is instructing positive cases to call their own close contacts to ask them to quarantine until the health department reaches out to them in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, according to a news release. Close contacts are also being asked not to contact the health department because it slows the notification process.
"Vaccinated close contacts do need to quarantine until the health department has their proof of vaccination, and those close contacts should have their vaccination cards ready for when the health department calls,” MCCHD stated in the news release.
Due to the rising number of cases – as well as the demand for COVID-19 testing -- the health department will only be testing residents experiencing symptoms or health department verified close contacts.
MCCHD is urging residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 noting that “of all the vaccinated residents in Missoula County only 0.71% have experienced a breakthrough case of COVID-19.”
According to public health officials, the rising number of cases could become more manageable if people get a COVID-19 vaccine, wear a mask, limit social circles, and wash hands frequently.
The health department’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Southgate Mall is open seven days a week and no appointment is necessary. Additionally, COVID-19 vaccine appointments are free to residents.
The clinic is open Monday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday –from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on weekends.
The latest Missoula County COVID 19 information can be found here.
MCCHD reports 10,618 cases have been confirmed in Missoula County including 9,915 recoveries and 107 deaths. There were 614 active cases which rank among the highest of any county in Montana as of Thursday.
The average daily new cases in the past seven days stand at 48. MCCHD reports there are 30 active hospitalizations on Thursday including 21 Missoula County residents.
The Montana COVID-19 tracking website shows a total of 65,327 Missoula County residents are fully immunized against COVID-19 -- representing 62% of the eligible population. Overall, a total of 131,047 doses have been administered.