The Missoula City County Health Department is offering guidance for those seeking COVID 19 testing due to a possible close contact, since there are currently delays in the process.

COVID 19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr spoke to KGVO with details.

“As we're getting more and more cases and the number of close contacts per case keeps going up, we are getting a little bit behind in our contact tracing efforts,” said Farr. “Right now it's taking us about four or so days to get hold of close contacts after we have been notified of them, and so what we're asking is that if you test positive for COVID, it would really help us if you can let your close contacts know that they are close contacts, and let them know that they do need to quarantine until the health department contacts them.”

In addition, Farr said that surveillance testing for asymptomatic people is also unavailable at this time.

“We are no longer able to do surveillance testing at this time,” she said. “We have enough people that are symptomatic that need to get tested as well as people that are close contacts that want to get tested so they can get out of quarantine faster, that we no longer have the capacity to do asymptomatic testing for people.”

Farr said those who are fully vaccinated are being affected at a far reduced rate than those who are not fully vaccinated.

“We're really seeing very, very few breakthrough cases right now,” she said. “Currently, only 0.71% of our fully vaccinated residents have actually experienced a breakthrough case of COVID-19. We know that it's possible as the Delta variant continues to spread that we could see that number go up, but we want people to know that we are tracking that.”

Farr said those who are fully vaccinated have a distinct advantage when it comes to being exposed to COVID 19.

“If you're fully vaccinated, then your chances are way less likely that you're going to contract COVID, and also at this time with the CDC guidance, fully vaccinated individuals, once we have proof of your vaccination, you don't have to quarantine,” she said. “So that's just another good reason to get vaccinated. In addition, we are still operating our Southgate Mall vaccination clinics for COVID. It's open seven days a week and we also still take walk-ins so we can make it super convenient for you.”

Missoula County is reporting 73 new cases since the last update Thursday morning.

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