There were 39 new positive reports for COVID-19 in Montana's midmorning report July 4th from the Department of Public Health and Human Services in Helena. Yellowstone County had 19 new positive tests for a total of 245 during the pandemic. It is approaching Gallatin County's total of 287, the highest in the state. By the way, Gallatin had 5 new cases in the Saturday report, followed by Teton County with 4, Madison County with 2 and the following counties each had 1 new positive test - Carbon, Flathead, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Missoula, Park, Richland and Silver Bow.

Missoula City and County governments and health officials will be discussing tighter rules on face masks this next week. In Ravalli County, the Bitterroot Brewfest, scheduled for July 25, has been postponed until a later date this year, and the Hard Times Bluegrass Festival, on that same July weekend south of Hamilton, has been cancelled as incidents of community spread of the COVID-19 virus have been noted by Ravalli County Public Health.

Health officials are again urging people to wear masks, especially in areas where 6-foot distancing is not possible and to continue safety measures such as washing your hands often and staying home if you are feeling ill.