Montana Public Radio

Flathead County

Nurse in a mask sitting, looking tired.
iStock

More Montana public health workers are quitting their jobs as they face mounting stress, and in some cases, threats, because of their work during the pandemic. The loss of experience could complicate the work of health departments now and in the future.

Flathead Health Officer Resigns In The Face Of ‘Toxic Environment’

Dec 1, 2020
Interim Flathead City-County Health Officer Tamalee St. James Robinson appears via video in Flathead County District Court on Nov. 12, 2020.
Hunter D’Antuono / Flathead Beacon

In the heat of one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Montana, Flathead County’s interim public health officer is resigning. 

On Nov. 27, Tamalee St. James Robinson told the Flathead County Commission and the Flathead City-County Board of Health that she will step down from her position Dec. 31. She also wrote that she will not be returning to her seat on the health board, which she had temporarily vacated over the summer to take over for the county’s previous health officer, who left for another job. 

Masks can help slow the spread of COVID-19 from people who don't yet know they have it, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Montana Disaster and Emergency Services

A Flathead County District Court judge Thursday denied the state’s request for a temporary restraining order against five businesses alleged to have violated Gov. Steve Bullock’s mask directive.

Mom's Organic Market store in Virginia with customer sign to wear face mask covering beyond this point to protect employees during Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak
iStock

Enforcement of state COVID-19 health restrictions will head to court in Flathead County in early November. The restraining orders filed by Gov. Steve Bullock’s administration in Flathead County District Court last week followed growing tension between local officials about how and if to enforce public health restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

A man on the street wearing a mask and holding a phone.
iStock

The Flathead County Board of Health Thursday refrained from imposing any new health restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The board was due to vote on a measure that would limit all social gatherings to no more than 25 people regardless of the ability to social distance and reduced capacity at bars, restaurants and churches to 25 percent. These restrictions would have only been in effect if case numbers exceed 375 per week. 

Yellowstone County ranks 14 out of the top 20 metro areas in the country for the highest infection rates of coronavirus per 100,000 people, according to COVID Act Now. To slow the spread of COVID-19 and lessen the strain on hospitals, the county health officer will implement new restrictions starting Wednesday.

High fire danger sign.
U.S. Forest Service

The fire danger rating was moved to "high" Monday for the Flathead National Forest, Glacier National Park and the whole of Flathead County. The announcement came from an interagency group of local, state and federal officials. The interagency press release said the move to high fire danger comes as the area is dry enough to ignite easily and has high potential for fire spread.

Map showing the proposed Lost Trail Conservation Area
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Federal officials are proposing 100,000 acres of conservation easements in Northwest Montana to maintain public access on recently sold private timber lands.

Blurred ferris wheel and lights from a fair.
iStock

Organizers of the Northwest Montana State Fair and Rodeo voted Thursday to hold the five-day event in August despite a sharp rise in coronavirus cases statewide. The fair attracted about 15,000 people per day in 2019.

A photo from June 06, 2020 shows the closed St. Mary entrance into Glacier National Park, which borders the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The Blackfeet Nation has maintained travel closures longer than Glacier Park or the state of Montana.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

As the busy summer season gets underway in various tourism hotspots across the state, Glacier National Park’s eastern neighbor is taking a more cautious approach. Concerns about COVID-19 have left the Blackfeet Nation slow to reopen its reservation to tourists.

Pages