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Missoula health officials deem coronavirus community spread

Posted at 10:15 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 00:15:00-04

MISSOULA — Missoula City-County health officials deemed the coronavirus community spread during a Monday briefing.

COVID-19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr says community spread means the department now has cases that have developed within county lines.

The department also announced that more than one healthcare provider in Missoula County has tested positive for the virus.

As of Friday, roughly 500 people in the county had been tested. Farr said there are probably more people who need to be tested, but Montana is low on testing supplies, and healthcare providers have to be strategic about who they choose to test. Right now, they’re focusing on those who are at a higher risk.

Farr said she’s optimistic that the supply chain will catch up in the next week or so. At that point, they’ll have the capability to test anyone who’s showing symptoms.

“We are just trying to get our hands on the same kinds of testing supplies that everybody in the world is trying to use right now.”

However, even if more testing supplies arrives in the next couple weeks, Farr said it will still be some time before we see things going back to normal.

“I can't imagine that we're going to be in a position where we’ll be able to just open everything up,” said Farr, adding, “Then once we do start lifting some of those restrictions, we have to be very methodical about how we do it because if we open everything up all at once and everybody goes back to their normal daily life, then the chances are we’ll see a huge spike.”

Local health officials say that if you’ve come in contact with someone who’s tested positive for coronavirus they will contact you.

In case this happens, contact tracing nurses recommend you start keeping a daily list of places you’ve been, and people you’ve been within six feet of for more than 10 minutes.