COVID 19 cases are on the increase in both Missoula and non the University of Montana campus, say Missoula health officials.

Incident Commander Cindy Farr with the Missoula City County Health Department commented on her Wednesday You Tube message about the rising infection numbers.

"We've had 534 cumulative positive cases in Missoula to date, that's up by 75 new cases in the last week, and 22 new cases since Tuesday," said Farr. "We've had 440 recoveries and three deaths. One Missoula County resident is currently hospitalized and we now have 91 active COVID 19 cases, which is nearly triple the number of active cases just one week ago."

Farr said now that school is in session, numbers from UM are being added to the total county COVID 19 count.

"We are now posting University of Montana affiliated data on our website" she said. "You will see with the updated cases today, that we've seen a significant increase in cases associated with the University of Montana this last week. We have had 24 new UM associated cases since last week, with a total of 29 cases since August 12th."

Farr said the way cases are developing on campus is actually positive in some ways.

"The University of Montana associated cases are primarily associated with clusters. and most were identified through contact tracing," she said. "Seeing the cases in clusters is actually a good thing, because it means that there are cases that are connected with each other, and they're not cases that are just sporadically cropping up without being connected to another case."

Farr added that those planning large gatherings must report them top the health department for their guidance on how to keep COVID 19 from spreading.

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