Montana Public Radio

Montana Coronavirus And COVID-19 News

20 hours ago

Update 09/27/20

The coronavirus pandemic in Montana continued to grow as the state recorded a record number of cases Saturday, surpassing the high marks reached two days earlier.

The state health department recorded 346 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday morning, an increase from 323 cases Friday and 333 cases Thursday. On Sunday the state reported 200 new cases.

Montana experienced a record number of new case totals in eight of the previous 12 days.

173 Montanans have died from the virus. As of Sunday more than 3,100 people statewide are known to be currently with COVID-19, with 148 people hospitalized.

Update 09/25/20

The State of Montana surpassed 300 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 Friday for the second day in a row. The state announced 323 new positive results from 4,598 tests. That makes today’s positive case count the second highest number in one day, after yesterday’s record-breaking case count. 

The Missoula City-County Health Department reported 32 cases Friday, adding that it’s monitoring more than 1,000 people who were in close contact with known cases.

Missoula also reported 28 new cases since Wednesday among University of Montana students and staff for a total of 76 active cases.

UM administrators say group activities, like sports and social gatherings where people aren’t wearing masks or social distancing, are largely responsible for the uptick. School administrators say safety protocols, like social distancing, wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer are working to keep the virus at bay in most classrooms.

Flathead City-County Health Department reports 59 new cases today. The state reports 56 cases of COVID-19 in Yellowstone County and 31 cases in Gallatin County. There are 2,713 people ill with COVID-19 in the state, and there have been 170 deaths reported.

Petroleum County is the only county in the state that has not seen any cases of COVID-19.

COVID-19 Cases In Montana Schools Double

Twice as many schools in Montana are reporting more than twice as many cases of the novel coronavirus among students and stuff over the week prior.

In a weekly report released Wednesday, the state health department announced 62 more schools reported coronavirus cases than the previous week, for a total of 121 schools kindergarten through university statewide.

294 cases among students and staff were added since the previous update, for a total of 488 known cases. Read more

Update 09/24/20

Newly confirmed coronavirus cases in Montana have spiked to another record and health officials report that the number of infections tied to schools more than doubled in just a week.

State officials reported 333 new confirmed cases of the respiratory virus on Thursday, topping the previous single-day record set less than a week ago.

The number of schools with associated cases rose from 58 last week to 121. The overwhelming majority of those campuses reported new cases in the past two weeks.

COVID-19 has killed 165 people and infected more than 11,000 people so far in Montana. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

Governor Says Montana Jobs Bouncing Back, Economists Say It's Still Early

Montana’s governor says the state’s employment rate is in a healthier place compared to many other states after the coronavirus pandemic led to government mandated business closures earlier this year. Some economists say it’s too soon to draw conclusions. Read more

With Cases Spiking, Blackfeet Tribe Orders 14-Day Shutdown Of Entire Reservation

The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council announced Thursday a mandatory 14-day shutdown of the entire Blackfeet Indian Reservation, which will begin Sunday at midnight. The Blackfeet Nation reported a spike in cases today with 86 active cases on the reservation. According to a Facebook post from the Blackfeet COVID-19 Incident Command, public health officials recommend a two-week shutdown due to the high infection rate of COVID-19.

In a Facebook live video posted Monday, Tribal Chair Tim Davis urged tribal members to continue wearing masks, washing hands, and to stay away from large social gatherings.

"We need to be vigilant, diligent, and following the recommendations of our health experts."

According to a news release from the business council, law enforcement will issue citations and fines to those who do not comply with the mandatory shutdown. The council said more details about the shutdown will be released on its Facebook page.

The St. Mary and Babb communities in the Blackfeet Nation were placed under a mandatory 14-day quarantine last week.

Update 09/23/20

The State of Montana reported 214 new lab-confirmed cases Wednesday from 3,151 tests. At the state level, Yellowstone County tops the list of counties with most new cases, at 45. Rosebud County follows with 21 new cases and Flathead with 20. 

Cascade City-County Health Department today announced 19 new COVID-19 cases and Tuesday announced 59 new cases. The health department said a third of yesterday’s numbers are connected to a cluster at the local jail.

Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter yesterday said there are currently 68 people with active cases of COVID-19 at the Cascade County Detention Center. Cascade County health department also said that social gatherings during the recent Labor Day weekend and symptomatic people failing to quarantine themselves may be responsible for the uptick in cases. 

The state has announced 165 total deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, and deaths in Yellowstone county are responsible for 62 of those. The Yellowstone County health department today said a woman in her 60s died in a Yellowstone County hospital Tuesday.

The state releases an update on positive cases in Montana schools today. As of last Wednesday, data show there are a total of 194 positive cases associated with 59 schools. Universities accounted for roughly half of those cases.

The state reports almost 11,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 to date.

Update 09/22/20

Montana's chief medical officer says the state is seeing a “remarkable increase" in COVID-19 cases. Over the past week, the state has averaged just over 200 cases per day and has a total of at least 10,700 confirmed cases of the respiratory virus. Health officials attribute the increased cases to schools reopening, Labor Day gatherings and increasing spread in congregate living settings, such as nursing homes and jails.

COVID-19 Deaths In Montana Surpass Highway Fatalities

As COVID-19 cases continue to trend upward in Montana, state health officials say they’re concerned that outbreaks could further stress the state’s already thin health care system. Read more

Update 09-21-20

Schools on the Fort Peck Indian reservation in northeast Montana say they’re switching to fully remote learning for two weeks due to an increase in COVID cases. Frazer Public Schools informed parents of its decision in a letter over the weekend. Fort Peck Community College announced its transition to online classes Monday.

Following a recent surge in cases the Blackfeet COVID-19 Incident Command wrote on Facebook today that it’s heard people asking about a possible reservation-wide quarantine and said the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council is working with Public Health Officials on the matter. The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council posted an update reiterating that tribal members should wear masks and observe social distancing.

The State of Montana announced 130 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 Monday from 8,449 tests run.

Yellowstone County’s public health department announced that two women in their sixties and one man in his seventies died in county hospitals over the last few days from illnesses connected with COVID-19.

Yellowstone County added 22 cases today, Cascade added 18 and Roosevelt added 17, according to state numbers. Some counties list different numbers because of lags in uploading data at the state level. The Glacier County Health Department on Monday announced 26 new cases while the state reported 16 for the county.

Statewide, 2,393 people are sick with the COVID-19 illness and 108 patients are hospitalized. There have been 10,429 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 160 deaths from the disease in the state since the beginning of the pandemic.

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Get more Montana coronavirus information from the state health department, as well as updates from the CDC and tips for preventing and dealing with COVID-19.