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public health

Two weeks after roughly 40,000 people attended the Northwest Montana State Fair and Rodeo in Kalispell, health officials are saying the event did not lead to a COVID-19 outbreak in the county.

An illustration shows proper hand-washing and mask use to help prevent the spread of contagious diseases.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Gov. Steve Bullock changed his stance on masks in schools Wednesday and is now directing students attending class in counties with four or more COVID-19 cases to wear masks.

Bullock issued a mid-July directive mandating Montanans wear masks inside businesses and other public buildings that reside in counties with four or more COVID-19 cases. The directive did not apply to schools at that time, he said.

Donna Hosmer of the DPHHS State Public Health Laboratory labels tubes to be used in the COVID-19 testing process before the information is entered into a computer system for tracking purposes.
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

A Kalispell assisted-living facility breathed a small sigh of relief Wednesday when its residents’ COVID-19 tests came back negative. Those results took more than a week to return.

Initial tests were given high priority by the state lab, and a state health official says this kind of delay in results is uncommon.

Bullock Directs $20 Million To MUS For Coronavirus Prep

Aug 7, 2020

Montana is planning to send up to $20 million of federal coronavirus relief dollars to its public universities to support reopening efforts this fall.

State Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian said during a press call with Gov. Steve Bullock the university system will prioritize rapid testing, quarantining and contact tracing of symptomatic individuals.

Building community from the inside

Jul 24, 2020

“His mobile home was not livable,” said Missoula Aging Services (MAS) Resource Specialist Linda Howard, about a client she worked with in Seeley Lake. This was not a problem Howard or MAS had the resources to address directly, but she knew people who did. With the help of a local church, community service organizations and neighbors, the client was moved into a new mobile home at no cost to him.

This week the Crow Tribe Police Department announced safety checks and traffic stops through Aug. 2 to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

On July 21 the Crow Tribal Health Department told Chief of Police Terrill Bracken that 457 individuals on the Crow Reservation had been asked to self quarantine after receiving a positive COVID-19 test result or being directly exposed to someone with the virus.

Closeup of a mask on a person's face.
iStock

Over the past month, health officers in two rural Montana counties have resigned over disagreements with county officials and residents over local coronavirus response plans.

Ravalli County Health Officer Dr. Carol Calderwood gave her resignation letter to county commissioners this weekend, over what she called “locally elected officials’ decision to disobey the Governor’s Directives without my input.”

The novel coronavirus.
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

On Monday, Yellowstone County health officials announced two more deaths have been tied to an outbreak of coronavirus at a Canyon Creek Memory Care in Billings. Including the weekend deaths, 12 of the facility’s residents raise the facility’s residents have died from the respiratory virus in the past two weeks.

'Up Until Two Weeks Ago, It Was Working'

Jul 17, 2020

As COVID-19 outbreaks increase nationwide, Montana's early warning system falters.

This story is republished with permission from the Montana Free Press. 

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Montana, surveillance testing designed to serve as an early warning system to prevent large outbreaks and keep businesses open is increasingly becoming ineffective, public health officials told Montana Free Press.


This week, Montana’s Republican candidate for governor unveiled what he’s billing a comeback plan for the state.

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