Montana Public Radio

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

State health department officials gave legislators an update Monday on the agency’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials say that response has a lot of moving pieces, but they’re learning fast and keeping pace.

A recent informal survey of Missoula parents highlights some of the biggest ongoing local childcare needs and challenges.
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Governor Steve Bullock announced May 6 that $10 million is now available to Montana child care providers funded through the federal CARES Act Child Care & Development Block Grant.

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.

Calls to the state child abuse and neglect hotline have dropped by about half since schools closed their doors in mid-March due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services said the hotline received a little over half of the roughly 760 weekly calls it normally received before schools were ordered on March 15 to close their doors.

Miserable looking man sitting looking though a window.
iStock

The state health department is expanding hours and staffing of phone lines for mental health therapy and suicide prevention. This comes amid a surge of requests from Montanans seeking emotional support during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The Montana state health department is closing some public services offices Friday to limit face to-face interaction amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Applications for safety-net services like SNAP food assistance, TANF cash assistance and health care coverage can be done online, phone, fax or mail.

Find the latest coronavirus news here: Montana Coronavirus And COVID-19 News

The four people in Montana diagnosed with the COVID-19 illness caused by the novel coronavirus appear to have contracted it while outside of the state, according to state officials.

Gov. Steve Bullock held a press conference Saturday afternoon after announcing the first cases of the COVID-19 illness in Montana the night before. He also announced amendments to the state’s emergency declaration, extended lab testing and previewed new policies for state employees working under the COVID-19 threat.

Coronavirus blood test
iStock

There are no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 illness in Montana. However, a Montana resident from Lake County visiting Maryland has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Public health officials say the patient did not have the virus while in Montana.

Drinking fountain.
Joseph Thomas Photography / iStock

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Montana schools must test drinking water for lead content following state rule changes related to school health, officials said.

Schools may begin in March with a December 2021 deadline to complete testing, The Daily Inter Lake reported Sunday.

The novel coronavirus.
Centers For Disease Control

There are currently no reported cases of the new coronavirus in Montana. This, however, may only be temporary. State public health officials say they’re preparing for the worst.

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