Montana Public Radio

Joe Russell

COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake for Eligible Montanans by Age Group - 04-27-21
Credit: Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

A few counties across Montana are seeing notable spikes in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Flathead, Park and Cascade county health officials say the virus is affecting the old and young alike.

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
New York National Guard/Public Domain

State and local health officials in Montana are following a recommended pause on the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. The change is causing some logistical issues.

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.

Wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands frequently to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
CDC

Gov. Greg Gianforte repealed Montana’s mask mandate Friday. Many Montana health officials say it’s too soon, and some are keeping local masking requirements.

Gianforte’s directive, issued Friday morning, says, "Montanans are encouraged to wear masks." That’s a departure from the face covering requirement issued by former Gov. Steve Bullock last July

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.

The North Valley Food bank has served road kill since the 1980s.
Corin Cates-Carney

When the North Valley Food Bank in Whitefish opened its redesigned building in 2013, it became unique among Montana food banks. While other food banks around the state have programs for hunters to bring donations of wild game, North Valley Food Bank is alone in butchering road kill on site.