Montana Public Radio

Montana Coronavirus And COVID-19 News

19 hours ago

05/28/20, 5:45 p.m.

Montana is starting two new programs for tourism education and business safety as the state enters the second phase of its economic reopening plan June 1.

Starting June 1, out-of-state travelers will no longer be required by the state to quarantine for two weeks when entering Montana.

Gov. Steve Bullock says the Montana Business Adaptation Program will allow for up to $5,000 in reimbursement per business for expenses related to keeping staff and customers safe from COVID-19.

"Expenses include things like the purchase of personal protective equipment, installation of sneeze guards, hand sanitizer, resources for remote work equipment, cleaning supplies and more."

A total of $20 million in those grants are available starting Monday, at covidrelief.mt.gov

The Montana Department of Commerce and Department of Public Health and Human Services is also kicking off a $15 million dollar statewide campaign aimed at educating tourists about public health and safety while visiting Montana.

Montana reported four new positive COVID-19 cases Thursday. Three of the new COVID-19 cases were discovered through surveillance testing in Big Horn County.

In Billings, the Yellowstone County jail plans to begin testing 33 inmates along with staff who came in contact with an inmate who tested positive for the respiratory virus earlier this week.

05/27/20, 6:30 p.m.

Montana is reporting two new cases of COVID-19, including an inmate at the Yellowstone County jail in Billings. The sheriff says the inmate, who is in her 30s, is being cared for at a Billings hospital.

The second new case confirmed from among more than 1,700 tests run yesterday involves a teenage male from Big Horn County. His case is not associated with any of the eight previous cases in the county.

There are 20 known active cases of COVID-19 in Montana. Two people are hospitalized.

05/26/20, 3:30 p.m.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Yellowstone County woman in her 80s has died of COVID-19, the county's health department said Tuesday.

The woman died Monday at a Billings hospital, RiverStone Health announced. She is the 17th person in the state to die of the respiratory virus and the third in the county.

John Felton, the county's health officer, extended sympathies to the woman's family and friends. Her name has not been released.

“This death serves as a very unfortunate reminder about the seriousness of this pandemic," he said in a statement. “We must continue to take measures to protect them from this disease.”

Montana's last confirmed COVID-19 death happened on April 28, also in Yellowstone County.

There have been no new cases among the more than 3,000 tests run in the five days from Thursday through Monday.

Tests have confirmed 479 cases of COVID-19 in Montana to date.

Gov. Steve Bullock has announced plans for the second phase of reopening the economy to begin on June 1, with increased capacity at bars and restaurants and a lifting of the 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

05/21/20 5:15 p.m.

Montana is reporting 479 lab-confirmed cases of the COVID-19 illness. A new case was reported Wednesday in Yellowstone County. There are 23 active cases in the state. Ravalli County has the most active cases with eight.

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05/20/20 5:45 p.m.

Ravalli County health officers are investigating a cluster of COVID-19 cases. The health department says the initial case involved a man in his 50s who was believed to have caught the virus while traveling outside the county. The man was hospitalized on Sunday.

Health Director Karyn Johnston says nine more people were tested because of contact with the man and seven of them tested positive. All are males of varying ages and are isolated at their homes.

Public health officials have placed more than 30 identified contacts in quarantine.

Montana is reporting 478 lab-confirmed cases of the COVID-19 illness. All seven of the new cases identified today were in Ravalli County. Montana has 22 active cases. Eight of those are in Ravalli County, which has the highest number of active cases in the state. A total of 440 people have recovered and 16 people have died.

You can find more Montana-related coronavirus information from the state health department, as well as updates from the CDC and tips for preventing and dealing with COVID-19. Do you have questions about coronavirus in Montana? Ask them here and we'll do our best to answer them.

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