The Missoula City County Health Department is urging residents to ‘dust off their masks’ and start wearing them again, due to an alarming rise in new COVID 19 cases, the most since the spring.

On Tuesday, the health department reported 30 new cases, the most since late March when the COVID vaccines were first widely available to the public. The report states that there are 100 cases in the county and 12 hospitalizations. In addition, the seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people rose to 12 after hitting an all-time pandemic low of only three just four weeks ago on June 26.

Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has now revered their position that fully vaccinated persons can forego wearing a mask inside closed public areas, so the health department is urging people to start wearing masks again.

Health Officer D’Shane Barnett said on Tuesday that with the Delta Variant making an appearance in Missoula, that all those who are old enough to be vaccinated and haven’t been, should do so immediately. He also said children 11 and younger should wear masks, practice social distancing and wash their hands frequently until a vaccine becomes available for their age group.

The health department’s vaccine clinic in the old Lucky’s Market location in Southgate Mall is open seven days a week with no appointment necessary. The vaccinations are free for both the insured and uninsured.

All Missoula County residents, whether symptomatic or not, can book free COVID-19 tests at the Flynn Lane testing clinic or at a mobile testing clinic. Individuals who are exposed to large volumes of people at work are especially encouraged to take advantage of this service.


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