Governor Steve Bullock during a news conference on Tuesday announced a tightening of existing COVID-19 restrictions in Montana. The new rules go into effect on Friday, November 20.
Masks will be required in all counties regardless of the number of active cases; the rule previously applied only to counties for four or more active cases.
In addition, capacity at restaurants, bars, and casinos will be reduced to 50%. A limit of six people per table will also go into effect. The businesses must close by 10 p.m.
Public gatherings will also be limited to 25 people where social distancing is not possible.
"We’re all sick of this virus. We all have to collectively recognize that this virus won’t stop spreading in our communities any time soon unless we take collective action soon,” said Bullock.
As of Thursday, November 19, there have been 586 deaths in Montana due to COVID-19, an increase of four since yesterday. There were 1,001 new cases reported within the last 24 hours, and there are currently 18,587 active cases. There has been a cumulative total of 52,707 cases; of those, 33,534 have recovered.
There are currently 482 people hospitalized; the cumulative number of hospitalizations is 2,221. There were 4,423 completed tests within the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative total to 591,406.
The numbers above reflect the latest data from the Montana COVID website, along with supplemental data received from health departments in the following counties within the last 24 hours: Big Horn; Blaine; Cascade; Gallatin; Garfield; Glacier; Granite; Hill; Jefferson; Lake; Lincoln; Mineral; Missoula; Ravalli; Silver Bow; Sweet Grass.
Click here for the most recent list of new cases by age, gender, and county, as reported by the state.
NOTE: As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in Montana, the disparity between state data from DPHHS and data from county health departments continues to grow. MTN News has decided to use a combination of these sources to deliver more accurate and timely information. County health departments may be alerted to cases before Montana DPHHS; as those counties share that information with the public via social media, MTN News believes it should be reflected in our reporting. Using that county-level data means there will be times when MTN News data does not align with the state report.
CONTEXT: Not every person who tests positive actually becomes ill or exhibits symptoms. Many do not; of those who do become sick, some experience mild symptoms and do not require hospitalization. Others, however, do require hospitalization, as noted in the daily update on the number of people hospitalized. However, every person who tests positive for COVID-19 has the potential to spread the virus to other people, including family members and friends, which is why public health officials continue to encourage everyone to wear a mask and maintain at least the recommended six feet of "social distance" when in public. The CDC released data in late August which emphasizes that people with contributing or chronic medical conditions are at much greater risk of dying from COVID-19. Click here to read more.