Montana Public Radio

Tamalee St. James Robinson

Nurse in a mask sitting, looking tired.
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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.

Flathead Health Officer Resigns In The Face Of ‘Toxic Environment’

Dec 1, 2020
Interim Flathead City-County Health Officer Tamalee St. James Robinson appears via video in Flathead County District Court on Nov. 12, 2020.
Hunter D’Antuono / Flathead Beacon

In the heat of one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Montana, Flathead County’s interim public health officer is resigning. 

On Nov. 27, Tamalee St. James Robinson told the Flathead County Commission and the Flathead City-County Board of Health that she will step down from her position Dec. 31. She also wrote that she will not be returning to her seat on the health board, which she had temporarily vacated over the summer to take over for the county’s previous health officer, who left for another job. 

Mom's Organic Market store in Virginia with customer sign to wear face mask covering beyond this point to protect employees during Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak
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Enforcement of state COVID-19 health restrictions will head to court in Flathead County in early November. The restraining orders filed by Gov. Steve Bullock’s administration in Flathead County District Court last week followed growing tension between local officials about how and if to enforce public health restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

A man on the street wearing a mask and holding a phone.
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The Flathead County Board of Health Thursday refrained from imposing any new health restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The board was due to vote on a measure that would limit all social gatherings to no more than 25 people regardless of the ability to social distance and reduced capacity at bars, restaurants and churches to 25 percent. These restrictions would have only been in effect if case numbers exceed 375 per week. 

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Well over a month into the school year, some public school districts are making decisions about whether they should move toward more in-person education, while those that are dealing with outbreaks are temporarily shutting their doors. Montana Public Radio’s Aaron Bolton is here to talk about how districts are making these decisions.

A Fair to Remember: County Fairs Weigh Risk of Outbreak Against Financial Ruin

Sep 25, 2020

Laura Stutzman had no doubts that this year’s Twin Falls County Fair should go on despite the pandemic still raging across the U.S. — and several outbreaks tied to such community fairs.

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.