Montana Public Radio

Greg Holzman

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

Gov. Steve Bullock has created a state task force to prepare for the possible spread of the novel coronavirus in Montana. Montana's efforts now include testing for the coronavirus at the state health department.

Currently, no cases of the COVID-19 illness are reported in Montana.

Federal officials have counted 1,604 lung injury cases and 34 deaths through Oct. 24.
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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana health officials have announced two more cases of lung injury associated with vaping, and say they're investigating other possible cases.

The Department of Public Health and Human Services said Monday a Cascade County teen was hospitalized this summer and again in October while a Lake County resident in their 30s was hospitalized this month. Both are recovering.

A vape device with flavor liquids.
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Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s order to temporarily halt the sale of flavored e-cigarettes will not go into effect next week after all. On Friday, a state district judge blocked the administration’s move until a hearing later this month.

Montana vape shop retailers last week vowed to challenge Bullock’s order to temporarily halt the sale of flavored e-cigs. They made good on that promise in a Thursday court filing, and State District Judge Jennifer Lint of Hamilton has backed them up, at least for now.

Vape device
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Governor Steve Bullock on Tuesday ordered a temporary stop to sales of flavored e-cigarettes. The emergency rules take effect October 22. 

Bullock is directing the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to enforce a 120-day ban on flavored e-cigarette sales.

Federal officials have counted 1,604 lung injury cases and 34 deaths through Oct. 24.
iStock

State health officials Friday confirmed the first case of electronic cigarettes causing a severe lung disease in Montana. The confirmation comes amid an ongoing national investigation into links between e-cigarettes and lung injuries.

Nearly 23 percent of Montana high school students use electronic cigarette type products, according to the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey from the Montana Office of Public Instruction.
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Montana high schoolers are using electronic cigarettes more than their peers across the country. The state health department highlighted e-cigarette risks today as the Bullock administration and health care advocates push for a new tax on e-cigarettes.

Hospital monitor.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

If you got a couple dozen of the most powerful and influential health care leaders in Montana together in a room, they'd tell you that, overall, spending on health care here could be a lot more efficient.

That's actually exactly what happened Tuesday in Helena.