HELENA – Montana’s governor asked tourists to stop coming to the state state while residents are under a stay-at-home directive to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Gov. Steve Bullock’s directive asking people not to visit Montana for non-work-related purposes also told people to self-quarantine for 14 days if they are coming from another state or country.
“While we love our visitors, we would ask that you not come visit while Montanans are watching out for one another by staying at home,” Gov. Steve Bullock said in a statement Monday, saying it is needed to protect the health care system, as well.
Two residents of Toole County have died of COVID-19, the county’s health department said Monday, bringing the state’s total to four. Officials did not release their names.
Two earlier deaths were reported in Lincoln and Madison counties.
In a governors’ call with President Donald Trump on Monday, Bullock said Montana does not have enough testing supplies to adequately identify and isolate people who are infected and test people who have been in contact with them. He also said Montana had put in supply orders several times only to have them be canceled because the federal government is requesting the same supplies.
Several areas have documented “community spread,” in which people test positive for coronavirus without being in contact with someone who has already tested positive. Those include Gallatin, Yellowstone, Missoula and Lewis and Clark counties, health agencies have said.
Montana has 177 positive cases of COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon, including 12 people who are hospitalized, the Department of Public Heath and Human Services said. Nearly 40% of the cases, 69, are in Gallatin County.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
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