Missoula City Council member Jesse Ramos advocated for caution in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on Monday night, roughly two weeks after contracting the virus.

Ramos acknowledged his positive COVID test during this week's City Council meeting, saying he made a “quick and speedy recovery,” largely because of youth and health.

He is Missoula's first locally elected official to confirm having tested positive for the virus.

“Not everybody has youth and health on their side, so I just ask that we really be cautious about who we’re being with,” Ramos said. “I mean taking our own risks is one thing, but if we’re around older family members, we need to be very very cautious, as well as with older people.”

Ramos said those within more vulnerable populations need to be protected as the pandemic marches on and society awaits a vaccine. The state recorded 974 new cases on Tuesday and 630 total deaths.

“We have to protect our vulnerable. We have to protect our sick,” Ramos said. “And we have to protect our elderly as we go from there.”

At the meeting, council member Stacie Anderson also advocated for caution as Thanksgiving approaches. Missoula health officials reported 49 new cases on Tuesday and 30 active hospitalizations.

Forty-one people have died in Missoula due to complications from the virus.

“I know this week is Thanksgiving, and I know some families will be gathering in person, and others will be gathering in Zoom, and others will just be in each other’s thoughts, but I do ask that our community take a moment to think about the 614 families who are going to be missing a loved one because of COVID.”

At the time, Montana had reported 614 COVID-19-related deaths, with Missoula County reporting 41 of those deaths.

“For all of us, unfortunately, the pandemic has reached the stage where we all know somebody has had it, and it is reaching the stage where sadly we have all known someone who has died,” Anderson said. “So please continue to be doing all of the things you know you should be doing so that before Christmas when I make a similar announcement, these numbers haven’t gone significantly up.”

Roughly one in 28 people have contracted COVID-19 in Missoula County. This is compared to roughly one in 19 people who have now contracted COVID-19 statewide in Montana.