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Health officials: Wastewater surveillance shows presence of COVID-19 rising in Missoula

Missoula Public Health reports an increase is being seen in the levels of detected COVID-19 in wastewater surveillance.
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Posted at 8:30 AM, Oct 05, 2023

MISSOULA — Missoula Public Health (MPH) is reporting an increase has been seen in the levels of detected COVID-19 in wastewater surveillance in Missoula.

MPH explains that wastewater surveillance collects wastewater samples which provides data including people infected with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic or go untested.

“As we’re seeing an increase in COVID in our wastewater surveillance and an increase in outbreaks, it’s important for people to be sure to take precautions,” noted MPH Director of Health Promotion Cindy Farr. “It is especially important to be a good neighbor and protect those most vulnerable to severe illness from COVID. As fall approaches, so do the chances for upper respiratory illnesses.”

MPH is encouraging people to report positive at-home COVID-19 tests to the Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) so that officials can better track how many cases are currently in the county. Click here to submit a report of a positive at-home test to DPHHS.

County health officials advise that anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to take a test either at home or with a healthcare provider.

Symptoms of COVID include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or running nose or nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.

People who are experiencing symptoms are encouraged to stay home while people who have been exposed to COVID-19 are being advised to wear a mask for 10 days and monitor symptoms. Additionally, MPH advises anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to isolate from others for five days after symptom onset. That person should also notify close contacts that they tested positive.

Additional information can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.