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Gallatin County opens free COVID-19 surge testing site

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PHOTO BY MUFID MAJNUN

EBS STAFF

Even as COVID-19 cases are dropping nationwide and case numbers in Montana are starting to show signs of improvement, the Treasure State is still breaking records. In response, Gallatin County today announced the opening of a free COVID-19 testing site to respond to the surge.

Resources for the testing site were provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a Feb. 2 county health department statement.

The site will be part of the Increasing Community Access to Testing Surge Site program, a federal effort to provide additional testing resources to locations throughout the U.S. experiencing COVID-19 case surges, the statement said.

As of EBS press time on Feb. 2, Montana had 14,436 active COVID-19 cases, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard, 11 percent of which are in Gallatin County. Cases in Gallatin County, according to the county health department, are currently on a downward trend.

Today, Gallatin County ranked second in the state for new cases behind Yellowstone and Missoula counties. The number of COVID-19 deaths in Montana hit 3,000 at the end of January and the dashboard indicates that there are currently 340 active hospitalizations in the state.

The program will run through Feb. 22 and Bozeman’s site is located at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds. Beginning tomorrow, the site will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The surge site will use lab-based, observed self-collection PCR tests and results will be available by email within the expected turnaround time of 48-72 hours.

The site is not recommended for travel testing due to this turnaround time, according to the statement, but symptomatic patients and close contacts are welcome.

Those planning to get tested at the surge site must first register here. If you don’t have access to a computer, you can register by calling this toll-free number: (800) 635-8611.

The testing site will be run by eTruNorth, a federal contractor, and will be supported by Gallatin County Emergency Management.

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