Montana Public Radio

Missoula County

The State of Montana reported its second highest single day uptick in COVID-19 cases on Jun. 30. This comes after a new record count was set earlier this week.

This story is part of a series that looks at potentially lasting ways Montana adapted during the pandemic. It’s funded in part by the Solutions Journalism Network. 

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began advising against face to face interactions, Montana healthcare providers sought to expand non emergency telehealth appointments. It's a trend that could keep going.

St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula.
Courtesy St. Patrick Hospital

On Monday, Montana reported a total of 919 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 56 new cases since Sunday. That’s the biggest one-day spike since the pandemic started in March.

This spike has prompted some hospitals to tighten visitor guidelines.

Gov. Steve Bullock annonces his Coronavirus Task Force on March 3, 2020 in response to the growing number of cases reported in the United States. Bullock says the task force is a multi-agency group that will coordinate public health response.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

On Wednesday, Gov. Steve Bullock said there is no doubt Montana has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases since moving into Phase 2 of its economic reopening plan in early June.

Montana has reported 766 total known cases. Nearly one-third of those were reported since June 1st. During Wednesday’s press conference, Bullock said 136 people have tested positive for the disease over the past week.

A woman getting her hair washed at a salon.
iStock

Missoula hasn’t had a new COVID-19 case in more than two weeks and the local health department says there are no active cases in the county. That means health orders affecting some local businesses are about to change.

The phones of Missoula barbers and hair stylists have likely been blowing up since this morning when word came down they’ll soon be back in business.

A new report shows Missoula’s growing population, combined with a tight housing supply continues to drive high demand and ever higher home prices.

Housing prices may dip in the short term due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. The long-term effects on real estate are still unclear.

Missoula City-County Health Dept Director Ellen Leahy at whiteboard, and COVID-19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr, during a March 15, 2020 briefing on coronavirus cases in the county.
Edward O'Brien / Montana Public Radio

Missoula officials say they still don’t have adequate testing capacity and don’t want to risk an unnecessary spike in cases by lifting COVID-19 restrictions too quickly.

Ellen Leahy Friday said Gov. Steve Bullock’s directives may be a good fit for some communities, but not for Missoula. The county health officer issued Missoula’s own reopening order today impacting group size gathering and some business openings.

A coronavirus testing swab in a test tube.
iStock

Missoula health officials have announced a new drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic. It’s one of several recent steps by counties in the state to set up new testing abilities to identify the novel coronavirus. But the new Missoula site isn’t open to just anyone who wants a test.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock voiced concerns Monday about ensuring medical care providers have access to supplies in the face of rising national demand caused by the novel coronavirus.

CDC’s laboratory test kit for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
CDC

Missoula County public health officials are reporting two presumptively positive COVID-19 cases, the Governor’s Office announced Saturday evening.

They’re the first cases to appear in Missoula County.

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