Montana Public Radio

Gallatin County

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.

Gov. Steve Bullock annonces his Coronavirus Task Force on March 3, 2020 in response to the growing number of cases reported in the United States. Bullock says the task force is a multi-agency group that will coordinate public health response.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

On Wednesday, Gov. Steve Bullock said there is no doubt Montana has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases since moving into Phase 2 of its economic reopening plan in early June.

Montana has reported 766 total known cases. Nearly one-third of those were reported since June 1st. During Wednesday’s press conference, Bullock said 136 people have tested positive for the disease over the past week.

 


This story is part of our series that looks at lasting ways Montana is adapting during the pandemic. It’s funded in part by the Solutions Journalism Network.

Criminal justice system reformers for years have sought to reduce county jail and state prison populations in Montana. The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the process, mostly at county detention facilities across the state.

Montana's April 2020 unemployment by county (accessed May 28)
Courtesy Montana Department of Labor and Industry

Applications for unemployment benefits in Montana have declined — but are still much higher than normal — as the state continued to lift closures designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, officials said Thursday.

As Montana Prepares To Reopen, State Lacks Local COVID-19 Testing Data

Apr 24, 2020
Two Bozeman Health employees help a patient learn how to self-sample at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site Thursday, April 23, 2020, in Bozeman.
Ryan Berry / Bozeman Daily Chronicle

As Gov. Steve Bullock moves to roll back emergency measures enacted to slow the COVID-19 pandemic, he has said he’ll take a data-driven approach to reopening Montana’s economy while minimizing the risk of a second-surge outbreak.

State officials are keeping a close eye on the number of laboratory-confirmed cases. However, they aren’t tracking the number of Montanans who’ve been tested in each county, a metric national experts say is important to fully understand how the outbreak is playing out in different parts of the state.

Park and Gallatin County health officials are asking Yellowstone National Park to close immediately to prevent visitors from potentially spreading COVID-19 in gateway communities and overwhelming local health care facilities. 

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