Governor Greg Gianforte held a press conference on Friday, along with Adjutant General Matthew Quinn and Todd O’Hair, CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce to provide an update on the COVID 19 pandemic response in Montana.

Gianforte began by acknowledging and mourning the 1,400 COVID deaths in Montana, but also had hopeful news in the fight against the pandemic.

“As of today, 39 of our 56 counties have had cases in the single digits,” said Gianforte. “Of those 39 counties, 16 counties now have zero cases of COVID-19. This is great news. Communities are responding to the progress that is being made and making the right decisions for their citizens in response.”

Gianforte pointed out more signs of a gradual recovery in the state.

“We saw yesterday that Lewis and Clark County lifted all COVID-19 restrictions except the mask mandate,” he said. “Hospitalizations continue to decrease. Over the last seven days we've averaged 70 hospitalizations statewide due to COVID-19. This is the lowest weekly hospitalization average since like July.”

Major General Quinn provided more medical updates, including an expression of support for those involved in difficult public health decisions.

“Incredibly dedicated public health personnel and frontline medical workers at the state and at the local level have been in the trenches to keep Montanans healthy,” said Quinn. “You may not agree with all the decisions they've made. Many of those decisions I have been a part of, but I assure you, those decisions were not made out of malice, a desire for power or self serving attitudes.”

CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce, Todd O’Hair pointed out some of the positive changes of remote working that have benefited Montana.

“One thing that has happened in Montana that we've not experienced before is that with the widespread acceptance of remote working, it has opened Montana up to a whole new economy,” said O’Hair. “We have entrepreneurs moving to Montana, along with other folks that can work remotely, not just coming to Montana to visit for a week or two, they're actually moving here and opening up their opportunities in Montana.”

Saturday, March 13 will mark the day Montana reported its first confirmed case of COVID 19. The first cases were reported in Gallatin, Yellowstone, Silver Bow and Broadwater counties.

 

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