KGVO News spoke on Friday to Health Department COVID 19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr for the most up-to-date COVID infection and hospitalization numbers.

“We are definitely seeing falling cases in Missoula,” began Farr. “In fact, today we're only reporting 13 new cases in Missoula County and we only have 182 active cases, so that's great. We're definitely feeling like we have a little bit of room to breathe. Obviously, we don't want to say COVID is over and that this is the end of the pandemic because we never know if another variant is going to pop up, but at least we know that we're seeing a little bit of a quiet period for as long as it lasts.”

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Farr provided more proof of the lower COVID numbers.

“Our average daily new cases per 100,000 people over seven days are now down to 12, which is great,” she said. “It's been quite a long time since we've really dropped down to that level, so we’re definitely happy to see that. We are also continuing to see a slow increase in vaccination. Yes, there are still vaccinations available, and you can certainly get vaccinated at the Health Department (at 301 West Alder).”

Farr said hospitalizations and thankfully, COVID deaths in Missoula County, are also down.

“So we're actually seeing a very few hospitalizations,” she said. “Today we are reporting that only two Missoula County residents and three non Missoula County residents are hospitalized for COVID. So, we’re definitely seeing that same decrease reflected in the hospitalizations and deaths. The rate of death from COVID has definitely slowed down as well. We have not had any deaths reported to us in the last few weeks.”

Farr said the decision to declare COVID endemic like the flu, rather than a pandemic, cannot be made locally.

“Right now we're still considered to be in a pandemic,” she said. “I believe that the World Health Organization and the CDC are obviously working together very closely and when they give us the green light to say we’re in an endemic phase of COVID, then that's when it'll transfer to that, but that's really a decision to be made at a national and global level.”

COVID 19 vaccinations are available to the Health Department’s main building on West Alder from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. every Monday, Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and there are appointments available on Saturdays by calling 258-3363.

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