Montana Public Radio

Cindy Farr

The risk level is the estimated chance (0-100%) that at least 1 COVID-19 positive individual will be present at an event in a county, given an event with 10 people.
The COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool is a collaborative project led by Prof. Joshua Weitz and Prof. Clio Andris at the Georgia Institute of Technology, along with researchers at the Applied Bioinformatics Laboratory and Stanford University. / https://covid19risk.biosci.gatech.edu/

As COVID-19 cases surge statewide and the holidays are approaching, many Montanans may be asking themselves how risky it is to gather with friends and family. MTPR’s Aaron Bolton is here to talk about what academics, infection modeling, and public health officials are saying about that risk.

University of Montana's Main Hall.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

The University of Montana’s COVID-19 numbers are going to be shared each week by the Missoula City-County Health Department. Both confirmed COVID-19 cases and close contacts of COVID-19 cases will be included.

University of Montana's oval and Main Hall.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

As college students returned to class, Montana’s two largest universities are not disclosing COVID-19 cases on campus. Local health departments are taking different approaches when it comes to reporting the numbers. Some faculty say they’d feel safer knowing the details of COVID-19’s movement at their school.

Protesters at the Missoula courthouse June, 2, 2020. The death of George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota killed while in police custody, spurred protests across the country.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

Protests in Montana over the death of George Floyd have remained peaceful, unlike others seen in large cities across the country. Montana police officers say they want to keep it that way, and denounce the excessive use of force by law enforcement. At the same time, public health officials are trying to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as groups gather.

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.

Man in a gym running on a treadmill.
iStock

Reopening gyms and fitness studios in a uniform and consistent way has been difficult for public health officials because every facility is different. Now counties are saying the governor’s guidance on reopening doesn’t answer all their questions.


County health officers in Montana say residents must continue social distancing measures, even as the state mandated stay-at-home order lifts Sunday, in order to avoid future outbreaks of the COVID-19 illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

A snapshot of homelessness in the U.S. for 01/31/2019.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock extended the state’s stay-at-home directive for today until April 24. But that’s no easy ask for people with nowhere to isolate. Nick Mott reports on what the pandemic means for people experiencing homelessness in Montana.

A coronavirus testing swab in a test tube.
iStock

Missoula health officials have announced a new drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic. It’s one of several recent steps by counties in the state to set up new testing abilities to identify the novel coronavirus. But the new Missoula site isn’t open to just anyone who wants a test.

Missoula City-County Health Dept Director Ellen Leahy at whiteboard, and COVID-19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr, during a March 15, 2020 briefing on coronavirus cases in the county.
Edward O'Brien / Montana Public Radio

Missoula County health officials continue their intensive investigation into the first two local COVID-19 cases announced Saturday evening.

The two patients are now isolated in their homes. Now health officials need to track down who the two have recently been near. And they could use some help.

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