The Saturday total of positive tests for COVID-19 in Montana reached 281. The April 4th 4:30 p.m. daily report from the Montana Department of Public Health in Human Services included the first coronavirus death in Missoula. The Missoula City-County Health Department said the individual was of middle age or older. Six have died from the disease in the state. Hospitals are caring for 24 patients, while the other people testing positive are in isolation at home. Among the county reports - Gallatin County is at 109 cases, Billings remains at 38, Kalispell has 23, Missoula 19, Toole County at 15 and Ravalli County at 2.

The Centers for Disease Control is suggesting the public use masks in some instances. The statement from the CDC is below:

CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States. We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.

This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.