HELENA — Gov. Steve Bullock held a Thursday afternoon news conference in Helena to discuss the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in Montana.
Gov. Bullock and Montana health officials provided an update on coronavirus modeling projections and the process of treating individuals who test positive for coronavirus.
Health leaders say that while models can be used to gauge the virus, they remain projections and are not accurate representations of what could happen.
Montana Chief Medical Officer Greg Holzman and Communicable Disease Control and Prevention Bureau Chief Jim Murphy joined Gov. Bullock at the news conference.
You can watch the full news conference below.
On a lighter note, Gov.Bullock declared the work of "magical entities" including, but not limited to, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy to be essential services. He said they are allowed to travel freely into and across the Treasure State to perform their magical tasks.
"Magical entities certainly do perform services outside the scope of human ability," Bullock said. "I think we can all recognize that the Easter Bunny does perform essential services of hiding Easter eggs, supporting the chocolate industry, bringing springtime joy to Montanans all over the state."
Bullock also directed that dental services, including magical ones, are essential services, "especially during a time of increased consumption of chocolate eggs, yellow Peeps, and other related spring treats."
"The Tooth Fairy is uniquely qualified to perform the service of lost tooth collection to remit payment for lost baby teeth," the governor said, adding that magical entities will be required to adhere to social distancing guidelines as they perform their work over Easter weekend.
Gov. Bullock also said that any parent with a child who has a birthday during the stay-at-home order can email firstname.lastname@example.org and receive a personalized birthday video from the Governor and Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney.
During a press conference earlier this week, Gov. Bullock’s directives closing public schools and requiring people to stay home -- except for essential activities -- were extended until April 24 earlier this week.
Gov. Bullock said he believes these orders are working to "flatten the curve," which refers to the peak time when COVID-19 cases spike and potentially overwhelm hospitals. He also recommended Montanans wear cloth face masks when they're out in public places still open, such as grocery stores or pharmacies.
The Montana Response COVID-19 tracking map showed there were 354 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday morning. There have been six COVID-19 related deaths reported in the Treasure State, including one in Missoula County.
Missoula County health officials announced on Thursday that an additional case of COVID-19 has been confirmed, bringing the total number to 26.