Are Masks Working in Gallatin County? Here’s What the Data Says
On July 15th, Montana Governor Steve Bullock put into place a directive making wearing a mask mandatory in all Montana counties with four or more active cases of COVID-19. The directive required masks/face coverings to be used in most indoor settings where social distancing can't be maintained.
A month later we now have numbers to evaluate the effectiveness of the governor's directive in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 here in Gallatin County. You'll see that the number of coronavirus tests has fallen considerably. In mid-July just after the governor's directive was issued, the state changed their testing protocol and stopped testing asymptomatic patients (showing no symptoms of the virus).
The following data is provided by the Gallatin City-County Health Department. You can access that data by clicking here.
From July 1 - July 15 (Pre-Mask Directive)
- COVID-19 Tests Conducted in Gallatin County: 4240
- Positive Cases - 284
- % of Positive Tests: 6.69%
From August 1 - August 15 (Post-Mask Directive)
- COVID-19 Tests Conducted in Gallatin County: 1877
- Positive Cases: 127
- % of Positive Tests: 6.76%
Note: We started counting on August 1st. That was 16 days after the governor's mask directive went into effect. Symptoms of COVID-19 appear on average 5-6 days after exposure to the virus, but may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure, according to the CDC.
Here are the overall COVID-19 numbers for Gallatin County starting on March 4, when the coronavirus pandemic began and the health department started releasing data:
1,015 cases of COVID-19
17,941 COVID-19 tests conducted
3 deaths (last announced on July 31st.)
5.6% positive test rate (State rate is 2.88%)
.29 death rate (less than 1%) - State death rate is 1.4%
18 patients hospitalized overall (currently zero)
If you have questions about the coronavirus, you can call the Gallatin City-County Health Department Call Center at 406-548-0123 or email at email@example.com. The Call Center is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to answer questions about COVID-19.