In her daily presentation on You Tube on Tuesday, COVID 19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr attempted to straighten out some apparent misinformation circulating around the community regarding Coronavirus testing.

“We received several inquiries from different media outlets and from the public about a rumor about county testing processes,” said Farr. “The rumor regards misinformation about the health department losing tests, losing lab samples, and or losing test results. This is a rumor and it is misinformation. We fully own that test results and patient notification is taking longer than anticipated. This is actually due to an overwhelming number of tests being submitted for processing at this time.”

Farr described the effort to investigate these matters.

“Towards the end of last week, we were able to connect with the state health department to verify our testing processes including the turnaround time for test results,” she said. “The state has now sent all prior test results to our health department infectious disease staff, including those delayed asymptomatic results.”

Farr said the health department staff is moving as quickly as possible to notify the public on testing results.

“Infectious disease staff are now in the process of notifying patients, so we kindly ask for your patience as our staff receive these asymptomatic test results at the same time that symptomatic and close contact results,” she said. “Staff are working through patient notifications as quickly as possible. We do want people to know that most of the reference labs including Quest Diagnostics and Lab Corp are taking from 7 to 14 days and sometimes even longer for lab results.”

Farr then issued a plea for the public to treat her health department call staff with courtesy.

“Please be kind to our call center staff and our environmental health staff because they’re doing the best that they can to serve the county’s needs at this time,” she said. “The call center received nearly 500 calls yesterday, which is possible the most call volume that they’ve experienced to date. We hope that once we’ve received more guidance documents out there that the public will be able to access the information they need online and can call us with more specific and clarifying questions.”

As of Tuesday morning, Missoula County reported 44 active cases, 97 recoveries, and one death. There are more than 340 active close contacts. Active cases and close contacts are in quarantine and isolation and they continue being supported by health department staff throughout their quarantine and isolation. There are currently three active hospitalizations in Missoula County, one of which is a county resident.