The COVID 19 pandemic has reached another stage in Missoula County called ‘community spread’.

Incident Commander Cindy Farr explained the meaning of the term ‘community spread’.

“I’ve been leading up to it in my daily video presentations that up until this point all of our Missoula County cases have been related to either travel, or direct contact with an already confirmed case,” said Farr. “Now, we’re had three cases in our community that have developed over the last couple of days where there was not that connection to travel outside of the Missoula community and no connection to an already confirmed case. What that means is that we now know that we have ‘community spread’. The reason that is significant is that tells us in public health that it’s being transmitted person to person, and we probably have more cases out there that we just don’t know about yet. We likely are going to see an increase in cases at this point.”

Farr said there are no further restrictions, but rather to more closely follow the guidelines that have already been established.

“We want to emphasize the concept of social distancing or physical distancing and staying at home per the governor’s directions,” she said. “Now, it’s more important than ever that people try to limit their contact with people outside of their own household and try to stay at least six feet away from people whenever you are out in public. We also want people to get outside and recreate, but just try to keep it within your own family. When it comes to going to the grocery store, maybe make just one shopping trip in a week instead of going to the store every single day.”

Missoula now has 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus, third in the state behind 28 in Yellowstone County and 69 in Gallatin County.