Montana Public Radio

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated poverty and economic inequality in Montana. Several Bozeman residents recently shared their struggles in trying to meet basic needs and navigate complicated safety nets.

During a virtual event hosted by Montana No Kid Hungry and the Human Resource Development Council, panelist Lori Lindgren says living in poverty feels like trying to catch a run away train.

“When you’re poor, you’re always behind and you’re trying to catch up,” Lindgren said.

Active COVID-19 Cases in Montana by County, July 17, 2020.
Montana Department of Public Health And Human Services

For the third day in a row, Montana has added more than 100 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19. That brings the state’s total number of active infections to more than 1,300. Rural counties in the northwest corner of the state are seeing large spikes in cases.

The chairman of Crow Nation issued an executive order July 16 extending a reservation-wide “Stay at your place of residence” order until Aug. 31.


Montana’s health department distributed between $84 million and $163 million in Medicaid and Child Health Insurance Program benefits to people ineligible for those programs, according to an audit presented to lawmakers June 16. State officials emphatically reject several of the audit’s key findings.

Vaping device
iStock

Montana's health department is proposing a permanent ban on the sale of flavored vaping products in response to increasing youth e-cigarette use.

The Department of Public Health and Human Services will take public comments on the proposed ban during a virtual hearing on July 16th and by mail, fax and email.

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.

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