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COVID-19 test delays ripple MT

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Town Crier “Briefs from the Region” (1) – 7/27/20

In June, after Gov. Steve Bullock’s phased reopening plan began, Montana’s COVID-19 case count started to climb once more, and many counties responded with an ambitious plan to increase surveillance testing in their communities. It seemed like progress—Gov. Bullock also promised a testing capacity of 60,000 people per month. Delays in results however, are causing a ripple effect. Some hospitals and communities are waiting as long as three weeks for processed results and county health department staff are overwhelmed by phone calls from inquiring public seeking answers. “It’s causing impacts on their workplaces,” Barbara Schneeman, public information officer for Riverstone Health in Billings told Montana Free Press. “It’s also causing impacts on the public health system in terms of trying to trace all those contacts and notify people in a timely manner so we can prevent the spread.”

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