September 27, 2021 COVID Communication

Answer That Call From the Contact Tracers

Contract tracing is most efficient when individuals can be reached quickly over the phone. We are encountering issues with non-working numbers in the directory. Please take a moment to ensure your contact information is current by logging into Cyberbear. Additionally:

  • County contract tracing calls will come from phone numbers beginning with 830-(XXXX) and 550-(XXXX).
  • Promptly return missed calls and voicemails from Missoula City-County Health Department personnel.

CDC Endorses COVID Booster Recommendation

In updated interim guidance released Sept. 24, Americans who are at highest risk for COVID-19 (who have received the Pfizer-BioNTech primary series) are approved to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot to help increase their protection. This group includes:

  • people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings. They should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.
  • people aged 50 to 64 years with underlying medical conditions. They should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.
  • people aged 18 to 49 years with underlying medical conditions. They may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.
  • people aged 18 to 64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of an occupational or institutional setting. They may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

If You Test Positive for COVID-19

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will need to isolate for 10 days, with the start and end dates determined in consultation with Missoula City-County Health Department.

For UM students:

  • If you live in a residence hall, UM Housing will arrange to move you to isolation, with meals supported by UM Dining.
  • If you live in UM Housing off-campus or if you live in non-university housing, you will isolate in place.
  • Students should contact their course instructors to alert them of their absence in class and make arrangements for missed work, lecture notes or options for remote participation (if available).

If you are a University employee:

  • Begin isolation per MCCHD orders.
  • Contact your supervisor regarding any absence. If you are asymptomatic or experience mild symptoms (such that you want to continue to work), you can discuss arrangements for remote work, if appropriate.

If You are a Verified Close Contact to a Positive Case

If you are fully vaccinated:

  • You will be asked to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, but are not required to quarantine unless symptoms develop. Depending on testing availability, an MCCHD-verified close contact can seek a COVID test three to five days after exposure.**

If you are partially or unvaccinated:

  • You will be given orders to quarantine by MCCHD for up to 14 days, depending on the details of your exposure. If testing is available, individuals in quarantine may be able to be released from quarantine with a negative COVID test taken after seven days.**

**As of this Sept. 27 update, MCCHD only is testing individuals currently experiencing COVID-compatible symptoms and health department-verified close contacts. Curry Health Center is currently only testing symptomatic students.

Missoula County COVID-19 Data Dashboard

The Missoula County Data Dashboard contains detailed information about COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, deaths and demographic data about how COVID-19 is impacting the community.

Friday’s data (the most recent) for Missoula County include:

  • 148 new cases of COVID-19.
  • 1407 active cases.
  • Percent of Current Active Cases by Age Group (Currently just under 50% of all active cases are in individuals ages 20 to 49).
  • Missoula County’s seven-day positivity rate is 12.67%.
  • Average daily new cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days is 92 – more than triple the number defined as the goal area (25).

The state of Montana also has a statewide dashboard, both for COVID-19 cases and COVID-19 vaccinations.

Friday’s data statewide show:

  • Missoula County is second only to Yellowstone County (Billings) in new cases and total numbers of active COVID-19 cases.
  • There are more than 10,000 active cases across the state.
  • 52% of Montana’s eligible population is fully vaccinated.

Lastly, we know that this pandemic is taking a toll on our community from a number of perspectives – from anxiety about rising case numbers on campus and in the community to concerns about children too young for vaccines and immunocompromised family and friends who are at elevated risk. Please know that support is available if you are experiencing stress, anxiety or other mental health/wellness challenges.

  • Students are encouraged to contact Curry Health Center Counseling Services, which provides a confidential and inclusive environment to serve students. Call 406-243-4712 to schedule a visit. The after hours emergency contact is 406-243-4429 and additional resources are listed on the website.
  • Employees are encouraged to access the EAP (Employee Assistance Program), which is available to all MUS employees and their families at no cost. EAP services include 24-hour crisis help, in-person counseling and access to online consultations with licensed counselors. This printable resource provides an overview of EAP and Work-Life Services.

Be well,

COVID Response Team

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