MISSOULA — The Missoula County Health Department (MCCHD) tells MTN News they are tracking an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
The latest seven-day average is eight new daily cases per 1,000 people, marking a jump from an average of four last week which indicates community spread.
Of course, the uptick is simultaneous with travel as people enjoy what Montana’s tourism industry has to offer, so the health department is inviting residents to get tested for COVID-19 before and after they do any traveling, even if it’s within the state.
MCCHD says this travel testing is the quickest way to identify and prevent spread. People are encouraged to book appointments in advance of travel to ensure they get their results back in time.
For tourists and those living here temporarily for work on ranches or tourist locations - they should get tested if symptomatic.
“Anyone like that we definitely want to get tested if they feel like they're having any symptoms of COVID," Missoula County COVID-19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr said.
Farr explained that visitors staying for an extended period of time are able to utilize the county's testing site, but it's not for people stopping in the area for a short trip.
Farr said walk-in locations like Cost Care or Grant Creek Family Medicine are better for tourists."
"If it's just someone who's passing through and they start developing symptoms you know, they're only going to be here for a weekend or something like that."
"We really want to reserve those [county] resources for the people who actually live here,” Farr explained.
Missoula County residents or long-term visitors can get tested for free at the MCCHD testing clinic located at 4025 Flynn Lane. Call (406) 258-INFO for scheduling.
The Montana COVID-19 tracking website shows a total of 9,507 cases have been confirmed in Missoula County including 9,340 recoveries and 99 deaths. There were 68 active cases reported on Thursday.