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The following is a press release from the Missoula City-County Health Department:

MISSOULA, Mont. – As Missoula County remains in the CDC’s high-risk COVID-19 category, widespread use of indoor masks is encouraged for all individuals, regardless of immunization status.

In the high-risk COVID-19 category, the following prevention strategies are recommended by the CDC for individuals:

Wear a properly fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of your vaccination status (including K-12 schools and other indoor community settings) If you are immunocompromised or at high risk of serious illness Wear a mask or respirator that gives you better protection Consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public where you may be exposed Talk to your health care provider about whether you need to take any other precautions (e. g., testing) Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g., your health care provider to find out if you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP, and monoclonal antibodies

If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for severe illness, consider self-testing for infection before any contact, consider wearing a mask when indoors with them.

Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and reminders Maintain enhanced ventilation in indoor spaces when possible Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if exposed to COVID-19 19 or have symptoms of COVID-19

Vaccines, boosters, and therapeutics are also strongly encouraged to help reduce Missoula County’s COVID-19 hospitalizations and ultimately reduce the community’s COVID-19 risk level.

All people 6 months and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.

People who meet the following criteria are eligible for one or two boosters:

Boosters are approved for children 5 years and older, five months after completing the primary series of vaccines. People 50 and older, 12 and older who are immunocompromised, and people who have had two injections of J&J are eligible for a second booster four months after their last booster.

Residents are strongly encouraged to get tested as soon as possible if they begin to experience symptoms of COVID-19. Indeed, the therapeutics COVID-19, Paxlovid and Molnupiravir must be taken within five days of the onset of symptoms.

Residents should be aware of the following for therapies:

If residents cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons or because their bodies cannot mount an appropriate immune response to vaccines, they can still be protected with COVID therapies. Paxlovid and Molnupiravir are oral therapeutics available at some Missoula County pharmacies. These have proven effective against Omicron subvariants and sublines. These can be used in children and adults who weigh at least 88 pounds, test positive for COVID-19, have mild to moderate symptoms, and are at high risk of progression to serious disease. . These treatments should be started within five days of the onset of symptoms in a patient. Residents can go to covid.gov and enter their zip code to find a testing site to treat near them.

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