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Missoula County continues to watch origin of local COVID-19 cases

Posted: 2:39 PM, Mar 22, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-22 20:02:04-04
Cindy Farr

MISSOULA — It's a point that could change quickly in the rapidly evolving coronavirus outbreak but for now, Missoula County health officials have been encouraged that the local COVID-19 cases have originated from travel, not from local infection.

During Friday's press conference updating Missoula's response, Incident Commander Cindy Farr of the Missoula City-County Health Department noted that the four active cases in Missoula County through last week had developed from patients who had been traveling.

While acknowledging the delays with infection and testing with COVID-19, Farr noted that's a good point because it could show precautions are helping.

"So what that means for people who are watching at home is that we do not have community spread, at this point, that we know of," Farr said.

"It is still extremely important that you practice the social distancing, wash your hands, cover your cough all those kinds of things that we're going to continue to say to you," she continued. "But what we're doing is working because we're not seeing a large jump in numbers quite yet."

Farr says keeping the numbers low now is critical because it can health professionals a chance to see what measures are working in other parts of the country. Local hospital managers said Friday they are preparing for a surge in COVID-19 cases.