Montana Public Radio

Gallatin County

Following Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte’s announcement that all Montanans aged 16 and up will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting April 1, larger counties are outlining varying timelines and approaches for how they’ll meet that goal.

Most Montana counties are currently vaccinating people who fall into the state’s Phase 1B+, which includes those who are 60 years and up and people with certain medical conditions.

The Gallatin City-County Board of Health has relaxed a COVID-19 related health rule limiting event sizes as the spread of the virus has slowed down.

During a special meeting Friday, the Gallatin City-County Board of Health voted to expand group gatherings from the current limit of 25 people to a maximum of 150 for indoor events and up to 250 for outdoor events if certain physical distancing measures can be maintained.

Montana’s health department reported 360 new COVID-19 cases Friday. Gallatin County health officials say it feels like we’re hanging onto the ride right now rather than working together to eliminate the illness.

Gallatin County Health Officer Matt Kelley Friday said the county’s seven day rolling average of new daily cases was 53 percent higher than the week before.

He said the health department can’t slow the spread of the illness on its own.

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Missoula’s residential real estate market remains red-hot with home sales up more than 20% from last year. A mid-year report released by local realtors Friday shows historic lows in available housing.

Advocates for Montana inmates say their fears of COVID-19 outbreaks within correctional facilities are coming true. They’re demanding state officials take bigger steps to prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading further.

Signs in hand, organizers stood outside the governor’s residence in Helena on Wednesday afternoon denouncing what they call inaction on behalf of the incarcerated.

Gallatin County officials had planned to discuss mandating face coverings on July 14 but postponed the meeting after people seeking to give public comment refused to maintain physical distancing.

Health officials said the space for the in person- public meeting could accommodate around 100 people sitting in chairs spaced six feet apart, a measure intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and follow the state’s reopening guidelines.

The Gallatin City-County Health Department recently detected a toxic algae bloom in a privately-owned pond in Bozeman. It’s the first one in the county this year.

Gallatin County temporarily closed a pond at Sundance Springs Subdivision on July 10 after test results came back positive for algal toxins, which are released by certain types of algae after rapid growth followed by decay.

Montana State Auditor Matthew Rosendale says he’s tested negative for the novel coronavirus a week after being potentially exposed at a GOP fundraising event in Gallatin County.

Montana officials announced 67 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, breaking the state’s record for the most new cases in a single day. Health officials worry large gatherings for the Fourth of July could accelerate the spread of the novel coronavirus.

While Montana maintains one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S., Governor Steve Bullock said on a press call Thursday that he's concerned. Montana crossed the 1,000 total case mark this week.

The State of Montana reported its second highest single day uptick in COVID-19 cases on Jun. 30. This comes after a new record count was set earlier this week.

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