Montana Public Radio


Doctors walking through a hospital hallway.

Butte-Silver Bow County health officials recommend local health care facilities, including hospitals, clinics and long-term health facilities temporarily restrict visitation.

It’s not an uncommon decision for facilities to make independently, especially during peak flu season. But given the expanding novel coronavirus, or COVID-19 event, local health leaders opted to officially recommend visitor restrictions.

Person getting a vaccine

A Washington state resident has been diagnosed with a new virus that has infected hundreds and killed six in China. Montana health officials are monitoring the situation, but say they’re not ‘overly-worried’.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a Seattle man is the nation’s first confirmed case of Wuhan coronavirus.

Newly reported influenza cases in Montana as of Jan. 26, 2019.
Montana DPHHS

Flu season in Montana is getting worse. The state health department reports nearly 500 new cases were counted last week. That’s about 150 more cases than the previous week.

Influenza cases reported by week, Montana 2018-2019 season. Jan. 18, 2019.
Montana DPHHS

Flu season is well underway and as a result, some healthcare facilities in Northwest Montana are restricting visiting hours.

Kalispell Regional Healthcare announced Tuesday that children under age 13 won’t be allowed to visit Kalispell Regional Medical Center, The HealthCenter and Pathways Treatment Center after the facilities noted an increase in influenza admissions.

Flu shot. File photo.

A total of 145 new cases of influenza were reported during the first week of the new year, according to the most recent data from the Montana Health Department.

Stacey Anderson, the agency’s vaccine preventable disease epidemiologist, describes these cases as the 'tip of the iceberg'.

Flu shot. File photo.

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Montana health officials say a Missoula County child has become the first person to die of an influenza-related illness in the state this season.

Department of Public Health and Human Services officials said in a statement Monday there aren't many flu cases in Montana right now, but the number is expected to increase in the coming weeks.


Eighteen Montanans have died of the flu this season. The state health department says that all but three counties have reported at least one case of influenza, for a total just shy of 2,000 infections statewide.

Flu Cases In Montana Up From 2016

Dec 21, 2017
A woman gets the flu vaccine. File photo.

Public health officials are seeing a spike in influenza cases across Montana.

Rachel Hinnenkamp with the state health department says that as of December 16, there have been 374 cases with 89 hospitalizations and six deaths.

Flu shot. File photo.

Montana health experts tell us this year’s flu virus is here early and packs a punch. They say now is the time to get a flu shot.

As of October 21, "We have had 42 confirmed cases of influenza," says Montana health department epidemiologist Stacey Anderson.


Health officials in the Flathead Valley are reporting that in January, five long-term care and assisted living facilities experienced an outbreak of influenza or norovirus. The Flathead City-County Health Department worked with all five facilities following the outbreaks, and says none broke any health regulations.

Joining us now is Katheryn Houghton, the local newspaper reporter who broke the story.