Missoula County Health Officials have been encouraged to see the majority of people abide by the social distancing, mask wearing, and travel restricting efforts prescribed to bring the spread of the coronavirus under control.

However, that trend could be reversed if there is an appreciable uptick in new cases. COVID 19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr.

“If we start to see signs of community spread again, then that’s when we would need to take a really hard look at whether or not ordering certain sectors to close again would help curb the spread,” said Farr. “Now that our testing capacity has been expanded and anyone with symptoms can get tested, there’s a decent chance that we would be able to identify new cases.”

Farr said the upcoming tourism season could also bring a spike in new COVID cases.

“With summer tourism season approaching it’s really important to keep in mind that visitors can also bring the virus with them as they frequent the locations that we locals also enjoy,” she said. “Ideally, out of state visitors would follow the mandatory 14 day quarantine, but we know that there’s a good chance that they won’t. As I mentioned earlier, we’ve had multiple travel related cases pop up in Montana over the past week. Missoula County and western Montana are in a pretty good place right now, which is why we’re reopening. However, we are not an island and we need to maintain best practices to keep our community safe.”

Farr said to keep the gains made so far in reopening the local economy, care must be taken to observe healthy practices.

“No one in the community wants to get to the point where we’re closing businesses again, and that’s exactly why we chose the words ‘gradual approach’ to reopening,” she said. “Every person in the community plays a really crucial role in reopening, and the more people we have following protocols set up in stories and restaurants and adhering to social distancing and wearing cloth face coverings in places where distancing is hard, the less likely we are to see cases spike up again in Missoula County.”

Farr said the mobile testing unit will be traveling to Clinton on Thursday.