Montana Public Radio

John Felton

A coronavirus testing swab in a test tube.
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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Health officials in Montana announced two deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, one connected to an outbreak at a nursing home in Billings and the other in Lewis and Clark County.

A man in his 70s died early Thursday at Canyon Creek Memory Care which has lost eight other residents to the respiratory virus, said the Yellowstone County health department.

Montana Infections Set Record As Outbreak Hits Nursing Home

Jul 7, 2020
On June 24, assisted living businesses and workers asked the Montana Legislature to increase payments for day-to-day services for seniors and people with disabilities.
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A Billings nursing home said 58 residents and staff have tested positive for the coronavirus and the facility has been put under quarantine. This comes as the state reported on Tuesday its highest daily total of confirmed infections since the pandemic began.

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.


County health officers in Montana say residents must continue social distancing measures, even as the state mandated stay-at-home order lifts Sunday, in order to avoid future outbreaks of the COVID-19 illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Yellowstone County Commissioners have approved a centralized community-testing site at the Sandstone Building at MetraPark in anticipation of public demand for testing for the COVID-19 illnesses.

The facility is not yet open and no dates were mentioned in a Saturday press release from Unified Health Command (UHC), a coalition of area hospitals and the county health and emergency services departments. 

Billings Clinic and St. Vincent Healthcare will open interim testing sites for patients on Monday, Mar. 16.

Coronavirus blood test
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Updated 03/13/20, 7:30 p.m
This post was updated with the info that four presumptively positive cases were confirmed in Montana Friday evening.

Montana county public health officials Friday said testing for the COVID-19 disease remains limited and there is no at-will testing for people concerned they’ve contracted the illness. Friday evening, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock confirmed four presumptively positive cases COVID-19 in the state.

Coronavirus blood test
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There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Montana, but experts expect that will change. If and when it does, Missoula County health officials say they’re ready.

The Missoula City-County Health Department is preparing for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the same way communities prepare for wildfire or flood emergencies.

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

The Montana Board of Regents is poised to approve a proposal to help nurses with an associate degree (ASN) earn their bachelor of science nurse degree (BSN).

David Trost, president and CEO of St. John’s Lutheran Ministries in Billings, says registered nurses with an ASN have the skills to be excellent nurses.

He says the additional education helps with the transformation taking place in health care.