Montana Public Radio

Billings Montana

Coronavirus Report: Billings

Mar 20, 2020
Cass Sullivan snapped a photo of her father, Pat, seen through the window of his room at a senior-living facility in Billings, when she visited him last week, and later posted it on Facebook.
Courtesy of Cass Sullivan

We’ve asked reporters in communities around the state to file stories about how their towns are responding to the emerging presence of coronavirus. We’ll be publishing them in this space as they come in. News is changing fast during this ongoing story. These reports are necessarily snapshots in time. They may become outdated quickly. This piece was reported over the weekend of March 14-15, and published Monday, March 16.

The Sunday evening announcement that schools would be canceled this Mar. 16 sent many parents into crisis mode to find childcare.

But thanks to quick planning by the incident command team at the Billings Clinic, essential healthcare works and first responders in Billings have a free and secure place to take their kids. The plan to use the Billings Public Library came together in a matter of hours.

Coronavirus blood test
iStock

Updated 03/13/20, 7:30 p.m
This post was updated with the info that four presumptively positive cases were confirmed in Montana Friday evening.

Montana county public health officials Friday said testing for the COVID-19 disease remains limited and there is no at-will testing for people concerned they’ve contracted the illness. Friday evening, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock confirmed four presumptively positive cases COVID-19 in the state.


As more novel coronavirus cases are detected around the country, many large events like South By Southwest in Austin, Texas are being cancelled. 

Coronavirus blood test
iStock

There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Montana, but experts expect that will change. If and when it does, Missoula County health officials say they’re ready.

The Missoula City-County Health Department is preparing for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the same way communities prepare for wildfire or flood emergencies.

Since 2002 Billings health care providers and emergency responders have been teaching lifesaving cardio pulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, to the general public and for free. They're doing it again on Feb. 29.

 

As the largest school district in Montana faces an over $4 million budget deficit, some are asking how the budget became so unbalanced. School administrators say the proposed cuts to staff and operations likely won't fully fix the problem.

 

The largest school district in Montana plans to cut 40 full time positions to make up for an over $4 million budget deficit.


The largest school district in Montana plans to cut up to 40 full time employees to make up for a more than $4 million budget deficit.


Authorities have identified the bodies of four people who died in a small plane crash north of Billings over weekend.

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