Yellowstone County has reported two new COVID-19 cases, bringing the state’s total to 468, officials said Saturday.
The new cases involve a woman in her 70s and a male under 19, according to the state’s covid19.mt.gov website.
The state reports that 431 of confirmed reports have recovered and 21 remain active. Three people remain hospitalized out of 63 hospitalizations. The state has reported 16 deaths from the respiratory illness.
The state said it has completed 26,091 tests, which is 673 more than Friday.
Cascade County, which at one time had 17 confirmed reports and two deaths, has one active case. Toole County, which has had 29 reports and six deaths, now has two active cases, the state reported.
Yellowstone County now has five active cases, Big Horn County has six active cases.
Four confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported Friday in Big Horn County. The Crow Tribe Incident Response Center posted on its Facebook page early Friday that seven of 44 COVID-19 tests by Indian Health Service have been positive, with one case pending. They note there have been eight confirmed cases in Big Horn County.
The Crow Indian Reservation has extended its stay-at-home order, which was to expire May 14, until June 15 to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and has received more than $25 million in coronavirus relief aid.
Also on Friday, Gov. Steve Bullock visited a drive-thru testing site at the Fort Belknap Agency. That testing was to continue Saturday.
Elsewhere in the state, gyms, movie theaters and museums reopened Friday under Bullock’s phased plan. Like restaurants and other businesses that were previously allowed to open under the phased reopening, gyms, theaters and museums will have to limit capacity, enforce social distancing and adhere to sanitation requirements.
Bullock on Wednesday said it was premature to make budget cuts and described Montana’s fiscal condition as “historically strong” heading into the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the state entered into Fiscal Year 2020 with an “unobligated” general fund ending balance of more than $360 million.
The Budget Office will know more about the budget picture when income tax revenues are received in July, he said.
Bullock said the state is not in a position to “make unnecessary, across-the-board cuts to essential services – ones that Montanans are relying on more than ever during this pandemic. “
Bullock said Montana, like other states, is starting to see revenue declines and that the Budget Office and state agencies are taking steps to save on expenditures and offset revenue reductions.
The state Legislative Revenue Interim Committee, made up of six Republicans and six Democrats, is expected to review a proposed letter to the governor at its May 20 meeting. The draft asks him to reduce current state spending, saying it could ward off significant budget cuts in the 2021 legislative session.
Bullock said he is “managing our state budget on the basis of data, informed projections and fact, not politics.”
In terms of other help, the state website covidrelief.mt.gov features nine programs and $123 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to help Montanans with recovery.
Also, $10 million in CARES Act funding is now available to Montana child care providers to continue serving families with essential workers and help with efforts to reopen after closing due to COVID-19.
For more information, go to bestbeginnings.mt.gov.
Other than covid19.mt.gov, people can also visit www.dphhs.mt.gov for updated health information.
For mental health support, the Warmline is available at 877-688-3377 or montanawarmline.org.
Reporter Phil Drake is our eye on the state capitol. For tips, suggestions or comment, he can be reached at 406-231-9021 or email@example.com. To support his work, subscribe today and get a special offer.
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