COVID Quarantine Shortened to Seven Days by Health Department
This week, the Missoula City-County Health Department implemented a shortened quarantine of seven days for close contacts who meet the criteria set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do so.
Health Officer Ellen Leahy has details on the changes that can finally be implemented.
“We had instituted the seven day quarantine as the CDC allowed actually back in the winter, but because it requires testing in a certain two day time period and we were not able with our lab turnaround back then to accomplish that, we couldn't put it in place till now, but now we can,” said Leahy.
Leahy more fully explained the benefits of the order.
“If you are a close contact and have been placed in quarantine, if you get a test between day five of that quarantine and day seven, and that test is negative, then you can get out of quarantine after day seven instead of day 10,” she said.
Leahy provided details for anyone who may want to be tested for COVID 19 exposure.
“Well, 258-4636, which is also 258- INFO is the same main line and you can call that number and press option two to get yourself scheduled for a free test if you live in Missoula County, or if you're a healthcare worker who works in Missoula County, regardless of where you live,” she said. “We also do the free testing for people who are close contacts, and that testing center is still out on Flynn Lane.”
Leahy was asked about the announcement last week that D’Shane Barnett had been chosen as her successor when she retires in June. Leahy said she carefully distanced herself from that process.
“I got a courtesy call just before it went public, which was nice and exciting,” she said. “But no, I was not involved in the selection. That is very clearly under the purview of the health board. I didn't want to be involved in any way that could even be perceived as influencing that, and of course, that was a public process. The only involvement was way back at the beginning, when I drafted up a job description that I think represents the current job because I've been in it for so long.”
Leahy will retire in June after having served in the Missoula City County Health Department for over 30 years.
Thousands of COVID-19 vaccine appointments will be available this week for Missoula County residents ages 16 and older, which includes during the evening of Thursday, April 8, and the weekend on Sunday, April 11. Appointments are now available online at covid19.missoula.co or by calling 406-258-INFO.