Coronavirus

COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Gallatin County, mirroring a nationwide surge as the highly contagious delta variant steamrolls across the country.

The Gallatin City-County Health Department now recommends that people, vaccinated or unvaccinated, wear masks indoors in public spaces, but businesses can decide whether to follow the recommendation.

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A slew of new signs popping up outside Bozeman businesses signal the varied responses to the sudden change in federal COVID-19 guidance announced last week that fully vaccinated people could safely be without a face covering in most settings.

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Gallatin County Health Officer Matt Kelley announced Friday he is rescinding his face mask order amid plummeting COVID-19 case counts and a change in federal guidance on face masks.

KALISPELL — The COVID-19 vaccination operation at the Flathead County fairgrounds can dole out 1,000 doses in seven hours. But demand has plummeted recently, down to fewer than 70 requests for the shots a day.

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The number of COVID-19 cases in the county have been slowly decreasing in number in recent weeks, with about 16 daily cases per 100,000 people, according to the Gallatin City-County Board of Health.

Montana’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution is among the most efficient in the nation, but closer examination reveals a patchwork of systems among counties and tribal governments that will be put to the test as the state opens vaccine eligibility to all people 16 and older starting this month.

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Montana’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to increase next week, news that comes as the state opens vaccine eligibility to all Montanans ages 16 and older beginning Thursday.

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Bozeman School District won’t see many changes due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent changes to social distancing recommendations after implementing four or five days of in-person learning in its schools months ago.

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The death rate in Montana spiked in 2020, and for the first time since records were kept beginning in 1908, the number of deaths in the state outpaced the number of births.

The Gallatin City-County Health Department has released additional information about Montana’s first three cases of the U.K. variant — all of which occurred in Gallatin County and were confirmed on Wednesday.