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Missoula City County Health Department releases details on coronavirus testing

Posted at 7:16 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 21:16:03-04

MISSOULA — The Missoula City County Health Department is releasing more information on coronavirus testing.

They are reminding people that coronavirus tests are not used for screening. The tests only diagnose someone, if they are already showing symptoms.

Last week, The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services was approved to start testing people for the disease. Tests are similar to a flu test, where a doctor will swab the back of your throat.

The health department said it is getting lots of confused phone calls from people wanting to know if they have the disease, but there are currently only 200 tests available for the whole state.

"For the tests that are available, a health care provider would first look at your risk background. With respiratory symptoms, they'd then have to rule out more likely respiratory infections. Right now, the most likely one in Missoula is flu," said Leahy.

Because of the limited amount of these tests, officials are being careful who they use them on. But Leahy said doctors will consider likelihood of exposure, and severity of symptoms, before administering a test.

Health officials said the best way to prevent getting sick is to practice common sense hygiene, like regular hand washing.