Missoula County expands COVID-19 testing site criteria

Posted at 5:52 PM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 22:35:47-04

MISSOULA — The US Centers for Disease Control; and Prevention (CDC) recently added six new symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and local health officials are taking steps to expand their testing efforts.

The CDC now counts chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell as new symptoms of coronavirus, on top of fever, cough and shortness of breath. The Missoula City-County Health Department will now test anyone with these symptoms.

"With all of these new symptoms I think that well be able to be running most of the day, but with the limited symptoms of cough, fever, and shortness of breath, there's just not that many people that are having those specific symptoms," Farr said.

Incident Commander Cindy Farr said it's not unusual for there to be no people getting tested by the afternoon at the drive-thru facility at the Missoula County Fairgrounds.

She added that there is a contingency plan in place to start doing same day testing and also to hire more staff if need be. Farr told MTN News that most of the cases they've seen have been in people ages 20-29.

"And a lot of them are having really really mild symptoms, maybe a low grade fever that never even really makes it to 100.4, so we do want to encourage people, even if you're having really mild symptoms, please take advantage of our testing site," said Farr.

Missoula County can conduct up to 80 tests a day with Farr noting that as of Sunday 1,760 tests had been conducted. Farr says there are about 500 tests on hand, with another 1,000 on order.

People must make an appointment by calling (406) 258-INFO before heading over to the drive thru testing site.