Missoula has seen a significant increase in COVID cases in recent weeks, and that has set some people on edge. I've heard people describe it like they feel COVID is "closing in" on them, and I get it. I think at this point, most people in Missoula know someone who had a COVID scare and had to get a test. Plus, when you keep hearing about popular businesses in town shutting down like Bridge Pizza, Imagine Nation Brewing, and Missoula Club, it can definitely feel like it's hitting close to home.

In response to the rising case numbers, the Missoula City-County Health Department has updated the face mask mandate, which was enacted a few months ago and required anyone in Missoula who was in an indoor public place to wear a mask at all times.

Is it all that different from the original mandate? Not especially. It did lower the age of face mask requirements, so now anyone over the age of 5 will have to wear one. It also prohibits face shields, since there's a lack of evidence that they provide protection to others (it DOES allow enhanced face shield that are designed to capture droplets on the side and bottom of the shield, though).

These feel like pretty minor steps, and while I hope they work, I wonder if more dramatic action may be needed. We reported the other day that Montana is one of 13 states in "the red zone," meaning its recommended that the state shut down again. Do you think that's going to happen?