New Montana Law Blocks Health Mandates That Affect Businesses
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law a bill Friday that prohibits actions — such as those taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus — that would affect the bottom line for businesses. As a result of the new law, both Lewis and Clark and Gallatin counties said they could no longer enforce mask mandates. Read more
COVID-19 Cases Are Spiking Among The Young, Unvaccinated In Some Montana Counties
A few counties across Montana are seeing notable spikes in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Flathead, Park and Cascade county health officials say the virus is affecting the old and young alike. Read more
Montana Will Vaccinate 2,000 Alberta Truckers
Montana and Alberta officials Friday announced they have signed an agreement that Montana will provide COVID-19 vaccines to truck drivers from Alberta. About 2,000 Canadian truckers authorized to cross the U.S.-Canadian border will be eligible.
Vaccines will be offered to truck drivers starting Monday at a truck stop near Conrad. Signage along I-15 will direct truckers where to go to receive their shot.
Canada has struggled to buy enough vaccines in order to keep up with demand and as of this week, only 30 percent of Albertans had received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine compared to 42 percent of Montanans. Both Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in a press release that the effort to vaccinate Canadian truck drivers aims to keep goods flowing across the border.
North Dakota has also offered vaccines to truck drivers and the Blackfeet Nation has been vaccinating their tribal counterparts of the Blackfoot Confederacy.
Younger Montanans Lag In COVID-19 Vaccinations
Montana state health officials say more Montanans aged 59 and younger need to roll up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine. State numbers show the younger the age demographic is, the worse the vaccination rate is. Read more
96 Percent Of Vaccinated Montanans Returning For Second COVID-19 Dose
About 96% of Montanans who received their first COVID-19 vaccine are showing up for their second dose, according to the state health department. That’s slightly better than the national rate recently reported by federal health officials. Read more
Research Examines 'Deaths Of Despair' In Montana
Research into nearly 200,000 Montana death records from the last two decades has put hard numbers to anecdotes about suicides and drug- and alcohol-related deaths during the pandemic. Read more
Restaurant Relief Application Period Opens May 3
The U.S. Small Business Administration will open applications for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund on Monday, May 3.
The federal grant program will provide $28.6 billion to restaurants and other food and drink establishments — including bakeries and food trucks — that have suffered during the pandemic. Read more
Senators Tester, Daines Encourage Montanans To Get COVID-19 Vaccine
Montana Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines Tuesday released a joint public-service announcement encouraging all Montanans to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Read more
State Health Department Again Recommending Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
Montana’s state health department is recommending that providers in the state resume administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Federal health officials Friday lifted the pause on the shot. Health officials say the benefits outweigh the risks of very rare blood clots potentially linked to the vaccine. Read more
Blackfeet Nation Takes Vaccine Surplus North
The Blackfeet Nation this week provided hundreds of surplus COVID-19 vaccines to their counterparts from the Blackfoot Confederacy and other residents of southern Alberta.
Blackfeet Nation spokesperson James McNeely said the tribe has been looking for ways to use its surplus COVID vaccines, as about 98% of eligible residents on the reservation are fully vaccinated. They started by offering to bring shots into other counties, but supplies across Montana have been outstripping demand for weeks now. Read more
Gianforte Receives Second COVID-19 Shot, Encourages Montanans To Vaccinate
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte received his second dose of a COVID vaccine on Friday. He and other Republican leaders are encouraging all Montanans to get their shots.
In a video Gianforte released after getting his second dose he said, "I just got my second shot, I’m feeling great and I would just encourage folks to get out and get their shot. This is how we get through this together." Read more
Falling COVID Vaccine Demand Forces Pivot To 'Vaccine Maybes'
Demand for COVID-19 vaccines across Montana is falling. Health officials in many counties say the decline is in part due to vaccine hesitancy, which could make reaching herd immunity difficult. But there are efforts to convince those who are still on the fence to get their shot. Read more