Montana Public Radio

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID-19 Cases Continue To Rise In Montana Schools

5 hours ago

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.

With the fall semester fast approaching, colleges and universities in Montana are preparing to offer a mix of in person, online and hybrid courses to keep students safe from COVID-19. YPR News’ Jess Sheldahl reviewed state, tribal and private institutions’ reopening plans and shares her reporting with Nicky Ouellet.

Nicky Ouellet: Thank you for sharing your reporting with us today.

Jess Sheldahl: I’m happy to.

This story is part of a series that looks at potentially lasting ways Montana adapted during the pandemic. It’s funded in part by the Solutions Journalism Network. 

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began advising against face to face interactions, Montana healthcare providers sought to expand non emergency telehealth appointments. It's a trend that could keep going.

The Big Horn County Health Department announced June 26 residents are required to wear face coverings or masks outside their homes. 

A vape device with flavor liquids.
iStock

The state health department wants to resurrect a ban on flavored e-cigarette sales in Montana. A temporary ban enacted late last year expired several months ago, and now the agency wants to permanently ban the sale of almost all flavored e-cigarette products.

Some Montana vape retailers are vowing to push back hard on the idea, leading to what may be the next legal battleground between those retailers and the administration of Gov. Steve Bullock.

Vaccination
CDC/ Judy Schmidt

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the number of vaccines being given to children for diseases like polio and hepatitis B has fallen dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic.

Montana’s public health departments and providers, seeing the same decline, are concerned it could lead to an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease and pull resources away from the COVID-19 response.

A protester calls for the end of coronavirus restrictions at the state Capitol on Sunday, April 19, 2020.
Brad Tyer / Montana Free Press

More than three hundred Montana citizens and multiple Republican candidates for statewide office gathered at the state Capitol in Helena on Sunday, flaunting federal, state, and public health agency social distancing recommendations to express a range of opinions centered on the belief that it’s time for state directives closing schools and businesses to end.

A Kalispell congregation continues its in-person services, despite stay-at-home orders issued due to the coronavirus pandemic. That's generated complaints to the Flathead City-County Public Health Department. The comments come as some are calling for a physician affiliated with the non-denominational Christian congregation to be removed from the county health board.

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