Missoula County leaders sent a letter to the health department Wednesday afternoon asking that masks be required in businesses as coronavirus cases are on the rise in the area.
The request to City-County Health Officer Ellen Leahy from Missoula’s mayor and county commissioners also included a commitment of resources to help implement the order.
In its daily briefing, the health department acknowledged an increase in cases and close contacts.
Incident Commander Cindy Farr said it is monitoring 295 close contacts or people who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive.
Farr said the health department has the capacity to handle the cases coming in, but hopes to hire more medical personnel to help with testing and identifying close contacts.
Farr says, after someone is exposed, they wait about three days to test.
"It's different when we're monitoring people who are quarantined, than when we are monitoring people who have already gotten the disease. For monitoring for people who are just in quarantine, we're just checking in with them daily to see if they develop symptoms, and if they do then we're helping to facilitate getting them in for a test."
Farr says it usually takes between 24-48 hours to get test results back.
In a press release sent out this afternoon, the health department said it is organizing a meeting to consider a mask requirement.