GREAT FALLS — At the direction of Gov. Steve Bullock, more Montana National Guard soldiers and airmen have been activated for COVID-19 response.
The 73 soldiers and airmen will be screening individuals arriving in Montana from other states and countries, with their permission, and follow up with information for anyone who needs it..
Beginning Friday April 3, they will be present at airports in: Bozeman, Billings, Kalispell, Missoula, Helena, Great Falls and Butte.
The National Guard will also have a presence at train stations in: Whitefish, Havre, Shelby and Wolf Point.
This mission might be different from others, but the goal is the same.
"It's not a go-to-war mission. It's a Montanans taking care of Montanans mission, and that's really what we're all about. The people you'll see in these terminals are from the very communities that they're supporting...or very near," Lt. Col. Chad Roudebush said.
Guardsmen say this is about educating people - and helping to slow the spread of the virus.
The Montana National Guard is authorized to conduct temperature checks, assess individuals for COVID-19 symptoms, and to inquire about the exposure history (e.g., close contact with an infected person) of any traveler arriving in Montana from another state or country through air or rail travel.
Such checks may only occur with the express direction and authorization of the Governor and Adjutant General, and only at locations to be determined by the Governor and Adjutant General, consistent with the purposes of this Directive.
When conducting temperature checks, assessing for symptoms, and inquiring about exposure history, the Montana National Guard will advise travelers arriving in Montana from another state or country of the mandatory quarantine for those traveling to Montana for non-workrelated purposes, as well as the Stay at Home order and its limitations on non-essential travel.
If a traveler has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, is otherwise assessed to have COVID-19 symptoms, or who has had close contact with an infected person, the Montana National Guard will refer the individual for assessment by a healthcare provider.
The healthcare provider will notify their local county or tribal health department of the location where the traveler intends to quarantine, if applicable.
The term “close contact” has the meaning ascribed to it by the Centers for Disease Control, and means:
being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case;
or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).
The Great Falls International Airport are doing what they need to do right now:
“I think on all levels we are seeing extraordinary measures being taken to stop the virus can’t really say the effectiveness of the health screenings. I think it’s not innocent with many of the things we are being asked right now to stop this illness,” says John Faulkner Great Falls International Airport director
But things have also been very different for the airport doing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Faulkner said, “I think over the last two to three weeks we have seen standard deviation decreases one day this week we had four people come in. This is one of the busiest flights I have seen all week. So, it’s definitely a decline in traffic because people are trying to get home to where they’re from. We have been contacted by a couple of people that are trying to help elderly parents that are here, and they are separated from those parents. So, I think for the most part people are just trying to get where they need to be its just down to a few people a day that are willing travel.”
This COVID-19 had also shown huge changes in the airport revenue sources.
“We are seeing dramatic declines in all of our revenue sources I’m thinking parking revenue for march was down about 42% percent and if you remember we had half a month where it was fairly normal. So it kind of tells you the other half the month we almost had no one go through. So yeah it’s a major decline in the revenue we normally see through,” says Faulkner.
They also ask if you do decide to travel to make sure to self-quarantine
Any person coming to Montana from another state or country for a non-work-related purpose must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days. If a person will be present in Montana for fewer than 14 days, that person must self-quarantine for the duration of the visit.
Any person who has already arrived in Montana from another state or country for a non-workrelated purpose before the date of this Directive must immediately self-quarantine for the remainder of a 14-day period beginning on the date of their arrival in Montana, or until their departure from Montana—whichever is sooner.
The Montana Department of Commerce will advise persons listing hotels, rental properties, or other short-term rentals in Montana—including but not limited to listings on such services as Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, and related services—to include notice of the mandatory quarantine for travelers from another state or country.
These quarantine restrictions do not apply in the following circumstances: o to persons traveling through Montana en route to another destination; or o to public health, public safety, or healthcare workers
These quarantine restrictions shall apply to Montana residents and non-residents alike.
In addition to these restrictions, persons required to self-quarantine under this Directive shall also comply with the requirements of all other Executive Orders and Directives issued by me. This Directive shall not be construed as limiting the effect of any previously issued Directive or Executive Order.
You do not have to take the test. Any traveler has the option to decline testing.