Montana Public Radio


Montana and Yellowstone County officials on Thursday announced new measures to enforce public health orders like mask mandates and business capacity restrictions as the state recorded its largest single day new case count of the COVID-19 illness.

Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton said the county is planning to hire four COVID Education Liaisons, preferably with a law enforcement background, to follow up with citizen complaints of businesses, organizations and individuals violating state and local health orders.

Hospital monitor.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Montana’s rural critical access hospitals are struggling as COVID-19 patients fill beds and strain staffing resources. Larger hospitals are at times unable to take patients.

Closeup of a mask on a person's face.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Thursday that the state health department is pursuing legal action against several businesses in northwestern Montana after they failed to follow restrictions meant to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

As Montana sees a surge in COVID-19 cases, medical facilities, particularly within tribal nations, are being pushed to their limits.

Kaci Wallette is a nurse at the Poplar Community Hospital, a facility in northeast Montana, where a full staff consists of three nurses and three certified nursing assistants.

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.

Montana 2020 Unemployment Claims By Type.
Montana Department of Labor & Industry

Montana has sent over $1 billion in unemployment benefits to residents since the start of the pandemic. The state passed that milestone in October. As unemployment payments climbed during the pandemic, so did fraud.

Montana Submits Draft COVID-19 Vaccination Plan To CDC

Oct 20, 2020

Montana released a draft document Monday that outlines its COVID-19 vaccination plan and priorities as required by the CDC.

The draft plan says front line health care workers, personnel who play a critical role in national security, law enforcement, firefighters, pregnant women and infants will be the first to receive a vaccine during the initial two month roll out, though it’s not clear when that may be.

A domestic violence nonprofit in Bozeman this month launched a campaign to fundraise for a new shelter it announced last year, and it says the pandemic highlights the need for more safe spaces.

A rise in the rate of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic comes just as the shelter is most pressed for space.

Meghan Lockner with Bozeman domestic violence resource center Haven says demand for emergency shelter rose by a thousand percent when Governor Steve Bullock’s stay at home order lifted in April and survivors were able to get away from their abusers to seek help.

A partial view of hands pushing a wheelchair with an elderly person sitting in it.
Stock photo (PD)

Families of four former Whitefish Care And Rehabilitation residents filed a lawsuit in county court Tuesday alleging that negligence in implementing COVID-19 protocols at the facility led to their family members' deaths.

Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas (R) - Stevensville
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

An effort by Republican state lawmakers to change how the Montana Legislature operates has failed.

Lawmakers part of the Joint House and Senate Rules Committee met on Monday to review a poll taken of the entire Legislature regarding three rules proposed by Republicans. The rules would have changed how the lawmaking body conducts business during the session and in the interim.