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Governor set to provide update on "phased re-opening" of Montana

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Posted at 9:20 AM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 14:24:22-04

UPDATE: CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS ON THE "RE-OPENING THE BIG SKY" PLAN

Governor Steve Bullock will conduct a news conference on Wednesday to provide details on Montana’s plan for a phased and gradual reopening. The news conference is scheduled to begin at noon.

After almost four weeks of directives closing all public schools and many businesses and severely restricting others, it's expected that Bullock will start easing some of those restrictions.

Bullock has issued orders to close all public K-12 schools and to stay at home, which closed all businesses deemed non-essential, including bars, dine-in restaurants, personal-service businesses, and others that attract groups of people. Those orders are set to expire on April 24.

He said last week that as businesses reopen, he expects they will still be required to observe social-distancing guidance and other measures, including temperature checks of employees and cleaning requirements of high-traffic areas. “Once we reopen, we’ve got to be able to stay open,” Bullock said.

We will air the news conference on KRTV and stream it here on our website.



As of Tuesday morning (April 21), there have been a total of 437 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Montana, an increase of four since Monday.

  • There have been 12 deaths to date. There have been five deaths in Toole County, two in Cascade County, and one each in Lincoln County, Madison County, Missoula County, Flathead County, and Yellowstone County.
  • There have now been 59 hospitalizations to date of COVID-19 patients in Montana; 14 of those are considered "active (current) hospitalizations."
  • There have been a total of 273 recovered patients to date. The number of recoveries by county has not been released at this point.
  • The DPHHS public health lab has completed 11,241 tests for COVID-19, including 190 tests since Monday's update.

Click here to see the current total of confirmed cases by county.

TOOLE COUNTY: Toole County confirmed its fifth COVID-19 death on Monday. To date, there have been 29 confirmed cases in Toole County, and 15 patients are listed as recovered. On a per-capita basis, Toole County has been hit harder than any other county in Montana by the COVID-19 pandemic. All Toole County cases continue to consist of close contact, healthcare-related transmission. Marias Medical Center in Shelby said on March 26 that one of the residents of the Marias Heritage Center (a 38-apartment, state-licensed facility in Shelby) tested positive for COVID-19. The next day, they said that some of the positive COVID-19 tests are from Marias Heritage Center employees. They also said: "This situation also exposed others to COVID-19 and, as such, we expect there could be other positives."

CASCADE COUNTY: The City-County Health Department in Great Falls said on Monday that a second Cascade County resident has died due to COVID-19. The person was a man over the age of 65 with underlying health conditions, according to a news release from the CCHD. There have been 13 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Cascade County to date.

PROTEST: Several hundred people gathered in Helena on Sunday to protest COVID-19 restrictions and closures; click here to read more.

PHASED RE-OPENING: Governor Steve Bullock said on Friday that he’s working on a “phased re-opening” of Montana, provided that the state meets key metrics that show the spread of COVID-19 is slowing. Bullock said that he’s planning to release a detailed plan this week; we have received reports that he plans to conduct a news conference on Wednesday afternoon to provide an update.

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.

CONTINUING COVERAGE: