Missoula health dept. asking people to reduce social circles

Missoula Health Department
Posted at 4:25 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 13:37:04-04

MISSOULA — The Missoula City-County Health Department (MCCHD) is asking residents to cut down on the number of people in their social circles as COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly in the community.

MCCHD notes that not only is the Delta variant more infectious than the original strain of COVID-19, but the health department’s case investigation team has also noticed most positive cases are reporting between 10-to-25 close contacts on average.

During the winter surge of COVID-19 in Missoula County, most positive cases only reported six close contacts on average, according to MCCHD.

The contact tracing is working to notify all close contacts but health officials say with roughly 60 new cases per day on average the backlog of close contacts who need to be contacted is growing quickly.

MCCHD notes the delay also in reaching out to close contacts will not impact their quarantine time. Quarantine time is determined based on the date they were exposed, not the date the health department makes contact.

The health department is also hiring more contact tracers and is aiming to clear the communication backlog soon.

Missoula County was reporting 58 new cases and 351 active cases on Friday. There has been a total of 10,293 COVID-19 cases reported including 9,838 recoveries and `04 deaths.

The Montana COVID-19 tracking website shows 62% of Missoula County’s eligible population has been fully vaccinated for a total of 64,798.

MCCHD notes aside from reducing their social circles, residents can help in the following ways:

  • Do not call the health department asking for close contact documentation. Close contacts calling the 258-INFO line is slowing down our notification response time.
  • If you know you are a close contact, please self-quarantine until you hear from the health department. A close contact is someone who spent 15 or more cumulative minutes within 24 hours of a person’s infectious period.
  • If you develop symptoms, please get tested for COVID-19 then self-isolate.
  • Wear a mask in public places where social distancing isn’t possible.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Get vaccinated if you have not done so already.