On Friday, the Gallatin City County Health Department held a press conference regarding the rapid rise in new COVID-19 cases throughout Gallatin County.

Gallatin County Health Officer, Matt Kelley began the meeting by saying;

The numbers I'm about to share are dire. Across the county we're seeing rapid, wide spread, sustained, and frankly uncontrolled transmission of COVID-19.

Kelley also provided an update on nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Most nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Gallatin County have active cases, and several have as many as 10-20 active cases.

Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital is struggling to maintain staffing, and has implemented measures that include bringing asymptomatic employees back to work before the end of their 14-day quarantine period. To clarify, the employees haven't tested positive for COVID-19, but they have been exposed so they are at a higher risk of developing it.

Kelley said that the Health Department is struggling to record and enter new cases into its systems due to so many new cases being reported by local labs and sources. The overwhelming number of new cases has also made contact tracing more difficult.

Residents in need of a COVID-19 test are having to wait longer, sometimes as long as 7 days, and influenza hasn't hit our community yet. When it does, demand for testing is expected to rise and the system will become more stressed.

Kelley recommends staying home if you are sick, and avoiding large gatherings. He also advised against going to bars and attending parties. By doing so, we have a chance at limiting the spread of COVID-19 throughout our community.

From November 13-15, 573 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in Gallatin County.

Watch the full press conference below.