Cindy Farr is the Incident Commander for the COVID 19 pandemic for the Missoula City County Health Department, and clarified some facts regarding transmission of the virus in varying stages of exposure.

Farr acknowledged the confusion over when a person becomes contagious.

“Typically those people who have tested positive for this disease are usually actually having very mild symptoms,” said Farr. “What we’re concerned about is that once they actually become symptomatic and they are coughing, that’s when their viral load is extremely high, and that is when they are most likely to spread the disease.”

Farr said most of the problems occur when people return to Missoula after having traveled to an area where the COVID 19 virus was detected.

“We encourage people that if they have traveled to an area where they’re seeing the virus widespread in the community and they return back here, then you should monitor yourself for any kind of symptoms,” she said. “If you start developing a cough or shortness of breath or a fever, then contact your healthcare provider so that you can get that test done in a safe way that won’t spread it to other people, so we know that that’s what it is and we can take measures to keep it from spreading.”

Farr also addressed the fear that many are feeling as their worlds are shrinking due to the virus.

“We understand that this is a time of great anxiety for a lot of people,” she said. “We want people to understand that what we’re doing here at the health department so that we can minimize the risk that people have bad outcomes from this disease.”

As of Thursday, there were four Missoula County residents that had tested positive for the COVID 19 virus, and said all four are currently quarantined in their homes and are recovering from the virus.