The Missoula City County Health Department is reporting its second COVID 19 death in two days, doubling the number of deaths from four to nine in just a week.

 I just want to alert people to the severity of this fact. Last week at this time, we had only had five deaths, and now we've had nine. So that's a pretty significant increase over the course of one week.

Incident Commander Cindy Farr provides what scant details are available from the health department.

“We had another death early this morning and this person was middle aged or older,” said Farr. “That is the only information that I have on that death and that brings us to a total of nine. I just want to alert people to the severity of this fact. Last week at this time, we had only had five deaths, and now we've had nine. So that's a pretty significant increase over the course of one week.”

With so many new cases, the contact tracing team at the health department has had to recruit new workers to keep track.

“Our contact tracing team goes through all of those contacts and calls them and let them know that they were identified as a close contact to a positive case and gives them instructions on quarantine,” she said. “They actually receive an order of quarantine letting them know that they need to quarantine for the full 14 days after their most recent exposure. That is a health officer order so it does have the weight of law behind it.”

Farr said with so many more cases coming in, the health department may have to institute stricter guidelines on the public.

“Ellen and I are going to be meeting with our COVID subcommittee of the Board of Health later today and we'll be discussing our indicators that we're watching and finding out what the subcommittee thinks about further restrictions,” she said. Some of the things that we have to do is look at where the where COVID is spreading, and what kind of restrictions might help to slow that spread.”

There were 46 new COVID 19 cases reported in Missoula County as of Wednesday morning.