COVID case records broken, case investigation and contact tracing processes changed
October 14, 2021
This past week Missoula County again broke several COVID-19 records. Also, in an effort to streamline case investigations and contact tracing efforts, the Missoula City-County Health Department (MCCHD) is implementing several changes.
Friday, Oct. 8 Missoula County broke the record for the daily COVID-19 cases at 178 and the incidence rate of 96 cases per 100,000 people per day over the last seven days. Missoula County is one hospitalization short of tying the patient record of 57. Furthermore, seven Missoula County residents have died from the virus since Monday, Oct. 4.
While this surge appears to be plateauing in other parts of the nation, health officials warn that Montana may not see that happen. It remains one of the few states in the nation with less than 50% of its population fully vaccinated.
Health officials say vaccination is the best way to ensure an individual does not end up seriously ill or hospitalized due to the virus. There will be a vaccination clinic Oct. 20 in Seeley Lake from 12 – 5 p.m. at the Seeley Lake Community Foundation West Wing. The clinic is open to ages 12 and up for Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Pfizer booster shots will also be available for those that qualify. No appointments are necessary.
The health department’s vaccination site at the Southgate Mall in Missoula is open seven days a week and accepting walk-ups and appointments for first and second dose patients. Residents seeking third doses or booster doses must make an appointment. The clinic’s hours and a link to make appointments can be found on missoulainfo.com.
Last week the MCCHD began contacting residents identified as positive cases or close contacts via text message from the health department with a link to a form they must fill out. This process is largely replacing the phone call notification system, however residents without cell phones will still be notified with a phone call.
MCCHD does not want the public to confuse these text messages with spam or phishing attempts. Website links sent by the health department will begin with “http://missoula.co” and residents with questions regarding their forms are welcome to call 406-258-INFO.
Over the next few weeks, the health department will also redesign its missoulainfo.com website. MCCHD will make the website easier for the public to navigate and include instructions and/or advice on common situations cases, close contacts and others find themselves in regarding COVID-19.
Through these changes the health department’s goal is to create a more efficient and positive experience for the residents it serves.
For the Oct. 8 briefing given by Incident Commander Cindy Farr visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sy2zYls8-v4.