Dave & Ally on the XL Morning Show talked at length with Gallatin County Health Officer Matt Kelley on a number of topics related to our current COVID-19 pandemic. XL Country listeners submitted most of the questions they asked. Listen to the interview below.

Part 1 covers local COVID-19 numbers and are decisions being made to keep us safe from COVID-19 actually doing more harm?

Part 2 covers testing & masks.

The current data released today shows that Gallatin County has ten people hospitalized due to the coronavirus. We had dropped down to eight hospitalizations earlier in the week but now were are back to our highest total during the pandemic at ten.

Gallatin County did record our fifth death related to COVID-19 on Thursday. To date, no one has died locally from the coronavirus under the age of 50. We've had three deaths from people in their 90s and one in their 60s.

In Montana, 235 people with COVID-19 have lost their life. The death rate in the state from COVID-19 is 1.1%. It was 1.4% two months ago.

There's no question we're seeing more positive cases; however, we've also seen record testing over the past three weeks. According to the Health Department, 3,784 COVID-19 tests have been conducted here in Gallatin County during October. Five hundred eighty-four people tested positive. That's a 15.4% positivity rate.

The age demographic 20-29 continues to see the most positive cases, followed by the 30-39 demographic.

Regarding hospital room availability, the latest date from the Gallatin City-County Health Department released on Friday shows that Bozeman Deaconess has 65% of their critical bed space in use. It did not show how many COVID-19 patients were currently in ICU.