The Missoula City-County Board of Health voted to adopt changes to the existing COVID-19 restrictions during a virtual meeting that was held Thursday afternoon as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the community.
A 10-day notice will be required for events and gatherings and also clarifies capacity limits at retail stores, gyms and places on assembly. Additionally, some county requirements are being brought in line with Gov. Steve Bullock’s recent tighter restrictions.
Missoula County Public Health Officer Ellen Leahy opened the meeting by discussing COVID-19 trends and statistics. Leahy said that the daily incidence of new cases has improved the past three days while the transmission rate is also improving.
She added that a “worrisome rate” is that the test positivity rate is more than 18%, up from about 12% last week.
Testing has expanded to a full seven days a week and around 170 tests are being conducted per day. Leahy also noted that COVID-19 cases are still being migrated from the weekend into the new Montana tracking system.
Missoula hospital availability better than most of the state, according to Leahy.
Watch the full press conference below:
COVID-19 restrictions discussed in Missoula
Public health officials report receiving about 1,000 emails and 30 phone calls this week about the proposal. The general sentiment of comment according to the presentation showed roughly 70% showed support for the proposal.
Additionally, public comment showed that people are concerned about public health and want to balance those concerns with financial and economic worries.
Event requests larger than 250 people — including the annual Parade of Lights, the Goodfellows Thanksgiving Dinner, winter markets, and sporting events — are still be reviewed by the health department.
– information from Katie Miller and Mark Thorsell included in this report.