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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Testing Supplies, Quarantine Sites Limited As COVID-19 Arrives In Montana

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock voiced concerns Monday about ensuring medical care providers have access to supplies in the face of rising national demand caused by the novel coronavirus.

Bullock says his office is getting an overall assessment of what supplies are available statewide. At the time of Bullock’s call with reporters Monday afternoon the state has about 750 COVID-19 test kits available and expects another thousand to arrive from the CDC on Wednesday.

"And I do have concerns about ensuring that we will have enough in the near future. And it’s not just the tests, right, it’s the adjacent supplies. Everything from the swabs and the vials that are transported with the swabs," Bullock said. 

Bullock as recently as Saturday said he wasn’t worried about getting COVID-19 test kits from the federal government.

State Health Department Medical Officer Gregory Holzman says his office keeps in contact with hospitals about the number of equipment like ventilators they have on hand. That can change as patients are taking on and off the equipment. The state health department says it'd rather see hospitals focus on patients than continually update data.

Missoula County health department officials on Sunday said they’re having trouble hiring on nurses to monitor two confirmed COVID-19 cases and reach out to people they may have come in contact with. They also raised concerns that the state doesn’t have a mass quarantine center.

"We are looking at different potential facilities around the state," Bullock said. 

Bozeman’s county health department has floated securing hotel rooms or houses as potential quarantine and isolation sites.

As of Mar. 16 Montana has six positive in-state COVID-19 cases. The CDC is no longer doing secondary confirmation tests of state results.

Copyright 2020 Yellowstone Public Radio

Nicky is MTPR's Flathead-area reporter.
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