As of Thursday morning (April 30), there have been a total of 453 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Montana, an increase of two since Wednesday. One of the new cases is in Park County; the second one was reported by Fergus County officials. Fergus County Disaster & Emergency Services said in a Facebook post : "This individual is a resident of Fergus County who has been out of State for an extended period and acquired the disease out of State and has not returned to Montana. This individual will recover out of state before returning home."
- There have been a total of 392 recovered patients to date. The number of recoveries by county has not been released at this point.
- There have been 16 deaths in Montana to date. There have been six deaths in Toole County, two in Cascade County, two in Flathead County, two in Yellowstone County, and one each in Lincoln County, Madison County, Missoula County, and Gallatin County.
- There are 45 active cases in Montana, according to DPHHS.
- There have now been 61 hospitalizations to date of COVID-19 patients in Montana; 5 of those are "active (current) hospitalizations."
- The DPHHS public health lab has completed 13,914 tests for COVID-19, including 386 tests since Wednesday's update.
- Click here to see the current total of confirmed and active cases by county
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: On May 7th, all public schools will have the option to return to in-classroom teaching at the discretion of local school boards. Several school districts announced this week that they will not re-open classrooms for the remainder of the current school year, including Billings, Bozeman, Glasgow, Butte, Helena, and Whitefish.
- The Great Falls Public Schools District had originally planned to announce on Monday (May 4) whether classes will resume on campus, or remain virtual/online for the remainder of the school year. However, the Board of Trustees has announced a special meeting will be held at noon on Friday, May 1st, and we expect that they will make an announcement shortly after.
PHASED RE-OPENING: Governor Steve Bullock announced last Wednesday a three-phase plan to "re-open" Montana, as closures and restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 will be gradually rescinded. Among the highlights of the plan:
- The "stay at home order" expired on Sunday, April 26, for individuals and Monday, April 27, for businesses. Retail businesses can become operational beginning on April 27 if they can adhere to requirements to limit capacity and maintain strict physical distancing.
- Restaurants, bars, breweries, and distilleries can begin providing some in-establishment services beginning May 4. Click here for more details .
- Businesses where groups gather without the ability to social distance including movie theaters, gyms, and other places of assembly remain closed.
The above is just a brief summary of key points; click here for more details of the "Re-opening The Big Sky" plan .
TESTING: Governor Steve Bullock on Wednesday outlined a framework to ramp up COVID-19 testing capacity in Montana over the next several months with a goal to eventually conduct 60,000 tests per month and prioritize testing for vulnerable people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, tribal communities, and those with COVID-19 symptoms. Click here for details .
- Alluvion Health will open a drive-through testing clinic in Great Falls next week; click here for more information .
AGES: The Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services provided information about the age ranges of the confirmed (cumulative) COVID-19 cases (current as of April 29):
- Ages 10-19: 13
- Ages 20-29: 89
- Ages 30-39: 74
- Ages 40-49: 65
- Ages 50-59: 83
- Ages 60-69: 73
- Ages 70-79: 35
- Ages 80-89: 14
- Ages 90-99: 3
TOOLE COUNTY: Toole County confirmed its sixth COVID-19 death last Wednesday. On a per-capita basis, Toole County has been hit harder than any other county in Montana by the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read more . Total Active Cases: 9; Total Recovered: 14; Total Deaths: 6; Total Confirmed Cases: 29
CASCADE COUNTY: According to the City-County Health Department in Great Falls, there have been two COVID-19 deaths in Cascade County. The most recent was a man over the age of 65 whose death was reported on April 20th. There have been 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Cascade County to date; 11 of those cases are now listed as recovered, and two cases are currently listed as "active."
THE REBOUND: MONTANA: We know the COVID-19 pandemic is changing our community. To keep you and your family informed as we move forward, we're beginning a new series of reports. They are stories that will help all of us navigate through these uncertain times. In the coming weeks and months, we'll be focusing on “ The Rebound: Montana .” It is a series of reports, videos, and information that show our commitment to stories that will help you as our communities begin to rebound - from what you'll need to know when it's time to go back to work, to how those in the community continue to step up and help others.