Update 4:56 p.m. Gov. Steve Bullock declared a state of emergency in Montana Thursday to free up money and resources to fight the spread of the COVID-19, or coronavirus.
No cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Montana yet, but Bullock said the state needs to be prepared.
“Now is the time to plan, not to panic. Our state has been preparing for coronavirus to come to Montana and we will be prepared to respond all along the way,” Bullock said in a news release. “Just like we do when any challenging situation hits our communities, we stick together to make sure that we mitigate the impact, that we have an appropriate response, and that we slow the spread.”
Bullock made the announcement at a news conference in Helena. He also announced a new website, www.COVID19.mt.gov , email address email@example.com and phone line 1-888-333-0461 for all COVID-19 questions.
Below is the full news release.
MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency to exist within the state of Montana related to the communicable disease COVID-19 novel coronavirus. The emergency order puts the state on highest alert; still no confirmed cases in the state.
“Now is the time to plan, not to panic. Our state has been preparing for coronavirus to come to Montana and we will be prepared to respond all along the way,” said Governor Bullock. “Just like we do when any challenging situation hits our communities, we stick together to make sure that we mitigate the impact, that we have an appropriate response, and that we slow the spread.”
The emergency order allows the governor to direct a coordinated response to an outbreak of communicable disease. This includes mobilizing all available state resources, such as emergency funds or personnel from the National Guard. It also allows the governor to take additional steps as warranted.
There are no confirmed cases in the state of Montana to date. However, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, local health departments, health and medical departments and local jurisdictions have activated response plans and protocols for prepare for the arrival of the virus in Montana.
On March 3, Governor Bullock activated the Governor’s Task Force, a multi-agency executive task force, to prepare the state and ensure the state, local public health, and the federal government are working together to keep Montanans informed with accurate and up-to-date information. The Task Force is spearheaded by Adjutant General Matthew Quinn, who oversees the Disaster and Emergency Services division which is well versed in multi-agency coordination and all-hazard response planning.
The Task Force has launched an informational phone line at 1-888-333-0461 and Montanans can also email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. State public health officials will be responding to inquiries from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.
A website has also been set up to keep the public apprised of Task Force actions at COVID19.mt.gov [covid19.mt.gov]. Montanans can also visit the DPHHS website at www.dphhs.mt.gov [dphhs.mt.gov] for the most updated and timely health information related to the coronavirus. The Governor’s Office, Task Force, and DPHHS will continue to provide up-to-date information to Montanans as it becomes available.