On Tuesday, Missoula County Health Department COVID Incident Commander Cindy Farr provided the latest update on COVID infections and hospitalizations in Missoula.

“We got 105 new cases since yesterday,” said Farr. “Currently we have 946 active cases. We've had 31 deaths so far and we've got over 1200 active close contacts. Currently our daily new case rate per 100,000 people in the past seven days is 61.”

Farr said even though cases are rising, Missoula’s two hospitals still have capacity to provide the necessary care for COVID patients.

“Currently, neither of our hospitals are doing many elective surgeries at this time, and so what that tells me is that we've still got some capacity to expand if we need to,” she said. “Definitely we're keeping a close eye on those ICU beds and keeping track of how many beds we have available at any given time, but we do know that the hospitals still have the ability to scale back a little bit on some of the elective procedures if they need to, to open up rooms to accommodate for COVID 19 patients.”

Farr said the Missoula Health Department has had no word from Governor Bullock’s office as to whether or not there will be any additional statewide restrictions, even though cases are rising dramatically in Montana.

“So far we're not being given any indication that the state health department or the governor plan to do anything any differently as far as new restrictions and regulations go,” she said. “That being said, in the past we have never really knew what was coming down the track from Helena until it was announced publicly, and so I could be totally off base on that, but we're not hearing of anything new coming down the tracks.”

With the holidays coming such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Farr said it’s important to continue following the protocols for family safety.

“Making sure that you're having six feet of social distancing whenever possible; wearing masks if you're around people that are family members that are outside of your immediate household,” she said. “It’s still important to use those cloth face coverings. I know that a lot of people really don't want to have to do that when you're around your family, but that is that is the best way to keep from spreading the virus among your family members.”

There has been no word from Helena as to when a press conference from Governor Bullock might be scheduled to address the rising COVID numbers.