BILLINGS, Mt. - The Treasure State is reporting it's highest single day COVID-19 case count with 39 confirmed cases on Thursday.

Riverstone Health held a news conference Thursday to address the recent increase in cases. At this time Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton says he is not ordering a new health officer directive at this time. During the conference Felton did highlight factors that could lead to new restrictions.

With the increase in positive cases and people being out and about in the community more than during the stay-at-home order, Felton says infected individuals have more contacts to be traced which is creating a strain on Riverstone Health's contact tracing capacity.

"Today we have 32 active cases and close contact from each of those people, ranging from a single person to up to 15 people. Obviously the more close contacts an infected person has the longer the contact tracing takes," says Felton.

Because the state went into Phase Two reopening on June 1st, Felton believes it is most likely the source of the dramatic increase in positive cases. Felton says in order to avoid increased restrictions and new cases, resident should follow the three W's.

"Wash your hands, watch your distance, and wear a mask."

As a reminder, the virus has a two week incubation period before a patient begins to show symptoms. When people are gathered for an extended period of time, there is a much higher chance of the virus being transmitted to another person.

Felton says there is no specific target or magic number that would lead him to revert the county back to Phase One restrictions.

Felton says they will be holding another community-wide, free drive-thru testing event on Saturday, July 11th in the upper parking lot of MetraPark. Testing is free and a doctor's order is not required. However, they will only be testing individuals who have no symptoms.

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