Missoula County COVID-19 cases rise to 40

COVID-19 Testing Vials
Posted at 9:33 AM, Apr 20, 2020

MISSOULA — Local health officials are reporting a there are now 40 COVID-19 cases in Missoula.

The number of "epi-linked" cases remained at two as of Monday morning. Cases that are “epi-linked” developed symptoms while in quarantine after being identified as close contacts to cases that tested positive.

There have been 26 recoveries from COVID-19 in Missoula County as well as one death. Thirteen people remain in isolation, according to local health officials.

The Missoula City-County Health Department notes the state will only report the number of cases that test positive while the local department tracks all cases.

Approximately one-third of the COVID-19 cases in Missoula County are considered to be community-acquired, meaning that the virus is in the community and there is potential for spread.

The Missoula City-County Health Department is asking people to practice social distancing to minimize this risk.

The Missoula City-County Board of Health adopted a recommendation on Thursday that all members of the public -- and employees and volunteers serving the public -- wear a cloth face covering their nose and mouth when in public and unable to social distance.

The Missoula County COVID-19 info line can be reached by calling (406) 258-INFO weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additional local information about the coronavirus situation can be found here.

The health department has opened a drive-thru nasal swab testing site for COVID-19 at the Missoula County Fairgrounds. The facility can only be accessed by people with an appointment.

The health department is continuing to emphasize the importance of social distancing, which means avoiding crowds and providing distance between yourself and another person when interacting.

Businesses, groups, and other organizations are encouraged to find different ways of delivering services and holding meetings and events.

Whenever possible, stay home, limit exposure to large crowds, and use technology to meet your needs. Anyone who is in the vulnerable population recognize that you are at higher-risk, and should limit exposure as much as possible.

There are mental health resources and information available for residents who are in need of help. Click here for details on what services are available.

Anyone who has arrived in Missoula County after having traveled out of state in the past 14 days is asked to contact local health officials at (406) 258-3896. This applies to all travel, including vehicle travel.

Gov. Steve Bullock announced on Friday that after April 24 -- which is currently when the directives closing public schools and requiring people to stay home are set to expire -- a plan will be put in place to allow for a gradual reopening of Montana.