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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Spike In COVID Cases Overwhelms Missoula County Contact Tracers

The novel coronavirus.
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Missoula County health officials say the number of positive COVID-19 cases and close contacts are overwhelming staff. Health officials are asking residents to notify their own close contacts, and testing resources can’t keep up with demand.

In a video update Thursday, Cindy Farr with the Missoula City-County Health Department said contact tracers are four days behind in contacting people exposed to positive COVID cases.

“Compared to this time last year, we’re seeing two to three times as many close contacts per case. So keeping your social circles small can really help us get back on track,” Farr says.

Farr says that’s why the county is now limiting COVID-19 testing to symptomatic residents and health department verified close contacts. Mobile testing clinics in outlying communities have also been suspended.

Aaron Bolton is Montana Public Radio's Flathead Valley reporter.