Missoula Co. to begin COVID-19 asymptomatic testing

Posted at 7:53 AM, Jun 09, 2020

MISSOULA — People are mingling, they’re traveling, and many out of state visitors are coming into Montana.

So, in order to provide another layer of protection against COVID-19, people are going to start seeing the opportunity for asymptomatic testing throughout the state.

Asymptomatic testing is for those who aren’t showing symptoms or have known exposure to the virus.

This form of testing is a public health approach for learning where the virus is present and where it is not.

The testing will be done in conjunction with Gov. Steve Bullock’s plan for statewide testing, and it’ll be paid for by the state of Montana.

Health Officer Ellen Leahy says had it not been for a lack of testing resources at the beginning of the pandemic, Missoula County would have offered asymptomatic testing months ago.

The health department is still finalizing the logistics, but testing sites up are expected to be up and running in about a week or so.

"Testing people for COVID who actually do not have symptoms for COVID is a way of actually having a warning system and a better sense in the community about the presence of the disease,” Leahy explained.

“And of course, if we find it, controlling it more quickly than going without testing or testing for only symptoms," she added.

Asymptomatic testing will initially cater to those considered on the frontlines -- grocery workers, people working with tourists, healthcare workers, folks in shared housing and detention centers, and those in long term care settings.