Montana Public Radio

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A woman smiling as she removes her COVID mask.
iStock

Federal health officials say people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can go about life mask-free, though some places still require them. Some local health officials say the change could motivate unvaccinated people to get the shot.

Moderna COVID vaccine in a small bottle
iStock

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.

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
New York National Guard/Public Domain

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.

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
New York National Guard/Public Domain

State and local health officials in Montana are following a recommended pause on the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. The change is causing some logistical issues.

COVID-19 U.K. Variant Detected In Montana

Mar 3, 2021

A variant strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been detected for the first time in Montana.

The Montana state health department Wednesday confirmed three cases of the U.K. variant in Gallatin County.

Jon Ebelt, public information officer with the state health department, told YPR News all three individuals had recovered and the state is working with Gallatin County to learn more about the cases.

“We have been preparing for this, conducting surveillance for COVID-19 variant strains for several weeks, so this comes as no surprise,” Ebelt says.

Even with vaccine doses rolling out, testing is still critical for tracing and containing the coronavirus. But throughout 2020the White House Coronavirus Task Force consistently said that Montana wasn’t testing enough to contain the spread. Now, institutions statewide have set up their own testing, and are reporting the results to county health departments.

2020-21 Influenza Season Activity, Week 47 ending Nov 21, 2020
U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Despite Montana’s unchecked COVID-19 spread, as of Wednesday there’s not a single confirmed case of influenza in the state.

The number of total COVID-19 cases associated with K-12 schools in Montana has doubled over a two week stretch, according to the most recent state data. Gallatin County has started releasing supplemental weekly reports with new CDC metrics to help schools make decisions.

Over 600 students and more than 250 K-12 staff across the state tested positive for the coronavirus through Oct. 9.

Closeup of a mask on a person's face.
iStock

Montana’s mask mandate is now just over a month old. While public health experts and studies say masks are key to slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, some people are pushing-back against the rule. Candidates for governor and attorney general also have opposing views on the role of state government during the pandemic.

Canoe paddles
PD

For the first time in the 75-year history of Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp, the paddles that propel canoes, kayaks and paddleboards around the lake are clean. After every outing, used paddles are placed in the oar equivalent of a laundry hamper, wiped down and sanitized.

Pages