Missoula case believed to be community spread

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow) — also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19 — isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (blue/pink) cultured in the lab.


The Missoula City-County Health Department announced Monday that Missoula’s one active COVID-19 case appeared to be a result of community spread, as the person had no known contact with the virus or travel outside the county.

Incident Commander Cindy Farr said in her daily coronavirus briefing that the positive case was in isolation, as is the person’s one known contact, and both are being monitored by the health department.

“The public health investigation indicates that this positive case was not travel-related and it was not associated with any known positive cases, suggesting that this one active case is due to community spread,” Farr said.

Further demographic or location information about the known case has not been released. 

Community spread indicates the virus may still be being spread by asymptomatic carriers in the community, or is being spread by carriers who have not sought testing despite showing symptoms.

Farr said it’s important to continue following public health guidelines for social distancing and personal hygiene even as the state and county move into Phase 2 of the reopening plan, which begins Monday, June 1. 

The second phase allows bars and restaurants to increase to 75% capacity, and allows more business types, such as gyms, pools, and bowling alleys to reopen with various capacity and distancing restrictions.

As of Monday morning, the state of Montana counted 41 active cases, including four added Monday. Two were identified in Gallatin County, and one each in Yellowstone and Big Horn counties.

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