Montana Public Radio


Just stay home. That’s what the Montana Nurses Association is asking Montanans to do for the next few weeks as coronavirus cases continue to surge and strain the state’s health care system. YPR News’ Nicky Ouellet spoke with MNA Chief Executive Officer Vicky Byrd over Zoom about the mitigation efforts they’re asking the public and elected officials to take now to save lives.

Nicky Ouellet: Vicky, thanks so much for taking time to chat with me today.

Vicky Byrd: Thanks for having me.

Vaccine stock photo.

Montana health Officials held a meeting Tuesday with various stakeholders on their plan to distribute forthcoming COVID-19 vaccines.

Montana Public Radio’s Aaron Bolton listened in on that meeting and he joins us now to walk us through what we know and don’t know, at this point about vaccination distribution plans in Montana. 

The Montana Nurses Association implored state lawmakers in a letter to heed public health guidance as they plan for the 2021 legislative session. It’s unclear how or if lawmakers will change their traditional gatherings amid the pandemic. 

Health care worker holding a clipboard.

Two-hundred traveling medical workers deploying to Montana hospitals hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic will arrive before Thanksgiving. Governor Steve Bullock announced the boost in medical staffing Monday.

Lewis and Clark County public health officials are recommending the 2021 legislative session be held remotely amid growing concerns of COVID-19 spread this winter. The recommendation comes a day after lawmakers gathered in the statehouse for caucus meetings. 

Sign on a business door that says 'Attention: for the safety of our patrons and employees, masks are required for entry. Thank you for helpping slow the spread of COVID-19.'

Five businesses in Flathead County are filing counterclaims asking for a jury trial after they were sued by the state for allegedly not complying with the governor’s COVID-19 mandates.

The Montana National Guard on Nov. 18 withdrew from Montana State Prison after assisting the facility, strained by an outbreak of COVID-19 among inmates and staff. Eleven soldiers tested positive for the virus prior to and during the roughly three week mission.

Major Dan Bushnell says it’s unknown how nine National Guard members contracted the virus while on assignment at the state prison.

"We do not know that at this time," Bushnell said.

Bushnell says contact between service members and inmates was minimal.

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. /

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.

Agricultural economists project Montana’s farmers and ranchers will receive more than $535 million in government payments by the end of this year. That’s a 65 percent jump over 2019.

Kate Fuller is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University.

The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council on Friday hosted a memorial for tribal members who’ve died from COVID-19.

Blackfeet Nation leaders led the memorial service for the 27 tribal members who’ve died from the virus since March. Well over a hundred people attended the service on Facebook Live.

From the council conference room, Vice Chairman Scott Kipp gave a speech in place of Chairman Tim Davis, whose mother recently passed away.