MISSOULA — Missoula County COVID-19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr offered up the latest information on the coronavirus in the below video.
There are 35 COVID-19 cases in Missoula County as of Wednesday. One COVID-19 related death has been reported in Missoula County.
Farr notes that there have been 24 people who have recovered from COVID-19 and there are now 10 active cases.
There are also 155 "close contact" cases that are being monitored in Missoula County.
Farr discusses case counts, the challenges with antibody testing, and ends Wednesday's briefing by highlighting some key findings from the state’s report and what they mean for our local response.
It should be noted that the Missoula City-County Health Department often finds out results from private labs and updates numbers before the state and there are also differences in reporting criteria, so the local numbers may differ from those that appear on the Montana COVID-19 tracking map.
For example, the state does not report epidemiologically linked cases. Cases that are “epi-linked” developed symptoms while in quarantine after being identified as close contacts to cases that tested positive. Epi-linked cases are isolated and monitored by public health, just like lab-confirmed positive cases.
Missoula County is now seeing signs of community spread, meaning that there are cases where exposure can no longer be traced to another positive case or connected to travel. Currently, about one-third of the confirmed COVID-19 cases are considered community acquired. This means the virus is in the community and there is potential for spread.
The appointment-only Missoula County COVID-19 Testing Center at the Missoula County Fairgrounds has expanded its services. People with COVID19 symptoms -- such as cough, fever and difficulty breathing -- or are caring for someone with symptoms, should call (406) 258-INFO and select Option 2 to speak to a nurse. Missoula County residents and Missoula healthcare workers with symptoms may get scheduled for testing.
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.
Local health officials note that Missoula County is seeing signs of community spread, meaning we have cases where their exposure can no longer be traced to another positive case or connected to travel. 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.
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.
Gov. Steve Bullock’s orders closing public schools and requiring people to stay home -- except for essential activities -- were extended on Tuesday and will now expire on April 24.