Montana COVID-19 case report - Oct. 21

Posted at 10:16 AM, Oct 21, 2020

HELENA — Newly released state numbers show 624 additional COVID-19 cases are being reported on Wednesday morning in Montana.

The Montana Response COVID-19 tracking map shows the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Treasure State is now at 24,712.

To date, 15,085 Montana residents have recovered from COVID-19. The number of active COVID-19 cases in Montana stands at 9,352.

There are currently 345 people hospitalized for COVID 19 in Montana and a total of 447,994 tests have been completed, according to the state tracking map.

The cumulative number of deaths in Montana is now at 275.

Gov. Steve Bullock ordered all Montana public and private school buildings to require face masks, in counties with four or more active COVID-19 cases on Aug. 12. He added that “encouraging” face masks at re-opened schools won’t be enough.

Gov. Bullock announced on Oct. 8 that the state will begin to publicly display information about COVID-19 hospital capacity. The snapshot report will show bed capacity, beds occupied, ventilator availability, and ICU availability.

Montana’s Nov. 3 general election likely will be conducted mostly – or, maybe entirely – through mail ballots, as Gov. Bullock gave county election officials the power to choose that option on Aug. 6.

Gov. Bullock ordered on July 15 that face masks be worn in indoor spaces in all counties in Montana with at least four active COVID-19 cases. Face masks will also be required for anyone attending outdoor gatherings with 50 or more people, Bullock said at a news conference in Helena. Click here for details on the directive.

Gov. Bullock announced a new partnership with Montana State University on July 22 to begin processing asymptomatic COVID-19 tests for Montana.

The City of Whitefish passed a resolution requiring the wearing of face masks in indoor public settings on July 14. The decision was made during a special meeting where the public was also allowed to comment on the proposal.

Missoula became the first major city in Montana to require the wearing of face coverings while inside in a public setting on July 9. The rule requires people over the age of 12 to wear face masks while inside in a public setting. Missoula County is the second county in the state to issue a mask mandate with Big Horn County being the first.

Gov. Bullock said on July 2 the worst may not be over – and urged Montanans to take precautions and wear face-masks in public. He stopped short of requiring face-masks in public, saying he wants it to become “socially acceptable."

Gov. Bullock announced on June 4 that Montana will be expanding COVID-19 relief grant opportunities to help small businesses, local governments and help get more Montana meat to people’s tables.

Montana moved to "phase two" of Gov. Bullock's "Reopening The Big Sky" plan on Monday, June 1. Bullock noted that Montana continues to have the lowest number of positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations per capita in the nation.

Bullock outlined the following indicators which prompted him - in consultation with public health officials and disaster response personnel - to move into Phase Two beginning on June 1:

  • A downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period.
  • The current ability to contact and trace, along with plans to add additional contact tracers to the existing workforce.
  • Ensuring that health care workers have the supplies they need to treat COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
  • Ramping up testing capacity to eventually meet a target of 60,000 tests a month and prioritizing testing for vulnerable Montanans and tribal communities. A total of 5,600 tests were conducted last week. Increased testing continues with sentinel testing efforts in nursing homes and assisting living facilities, testing events in tribal areas, and drive through testing being conducted at a few sites.

Here are some of the highlights of phase two:

  • Avoid gatherings in groups of more than 50 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing. Groups larger than 50 people should be canceled unless physical distancing can be maintained. It is recommended to continue to social distance in gatherings of any size.
  • Restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, and casinos remains in the same operations status as Phase One, but with an increase to 75% capacity.
  • Gyms, indoor group fitness classes, pool, and hot tubs can operate at 75% capacity and only if they can adhere to strict physical distancing and they exercise frequent sanitation protocols.
  • Concert halls, bowling alleys, and other places of assembly may operate with reduced capacity and if they adhere to strict physical distancing guidelines.
  • All businesses are required to follow the social distancing and sanitation guidelines established in Phase One, and Montanans are strongly encouraged to continue sanitation practices, including hand washing and wearing masks in public places like grocery stores.

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.