Gov. Bullock provides Montana COVID-19 update - April 17

Posted at 1:47 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-19 10:11:42-04

HELENA — Governor Steve Bullock held a press call to provide updates on Montana’s response to COVID-19 and answer questions from reporters.

The governor noted that after April 24 -- which is currently when the directives closing public schools and requiring people to stay home are set to expire -- a plan will be put in place to allow for a gradual reopening of Montana.

"I want to open up Montanan as any Montanan out there," Gov. Bullock said Friday noting that state officials are working on a plan to allow for a gradual reopening.

One of the keys markers as to when Montana will reopen will be a continued decline in COVID-19 cases. The number of new cases fell last week and Gov. Bullock expects the same to occur this week.

Gov. Bullock also noted that he wants to ensure that hospitals will be able to treat all patients -- not just those with COVID19. Additionally, the governor wants to make sure that the state has the capacity to test all people for COVID-19.

He stressed that a phased reopening means that things will have a different look than before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Gov. Bullock’s directives closing public schools and requiring people to stay home -- except for essential activities -- were extended until April 24 last week.

The Montana Response COVID-19 tracking map showed there were 422 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Friday morning.

There have been nine COVID-19 related deaths reported in the Treasure State, including one in Missoula County and one in Flathead County.

The following directives issued by Gov. Bullock remain in effect through April 24:

  • Closing all non-residential public schools in Montana. Previous Directive issued March 15and previously extended through April 10.
  • Closing certain on-premises dining and beverage businesses while expanding and encouraging delivery, takeout, and drive-up options. Previous Directive issued March 24.
  • Extending the stay at home Directive except for certain essential activities, temporarily closing non-essential businesses, provided social distancing requirements, and limited non-essential travel. Previous Directive issued March 26.
  • Limiting evictions, foreclosures, and disconnections for the duration of the Stay at Home Directive. Previous Directive issued March 30.
  • Requiring a 14-day self-quarantine for individuals arriving in Montana for non-work-related travel. Previous Directive issued March 30, which followed Governor Bullock’s travel advisory on March 19.

Other Directives issued or actions taken in response to the statewide emergency do not need to be extended as they will stay in effect for the duration of the emergency or even longer. Those actions include: designating childcare facilities as essential businesses, bolstering food security for Montana families, expanding telemedicine services to Medicaid patients, issuing emergency rules to make unemployment benefits accessibleto workers laid off due to COVID-19, emergency loans for small businesses through the Small Business Administration, and calling for the census deadline to be extended until at least Sept. 30.