The Montana State University logo.
Tim Evanson / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A Montana State University team will start testing Big Sky’s wastewater this week to help track whether the novel coronavirus is trending up or down in the resort town.

The sign for port of Wild Horse, taken June 24, 2014.
Jimmy Emerson, DVM / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


The opening of a summer port of entry between Montana and Canada has been delayed indefinitely while another port at the border with Canada will remain on winter hours until further notice. 

May 4, the University system in Montana started to slightly relax restrictions on research and lab work. But labs across the state continue to grapple with how to keep their experiments on course.

This is another story in our series looking at the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on science in Montana.

Three Children Work Togther On A Laptop
Lucelia Rebeiro (CC BY_SA 2.0) / Flickr

Child care is a critical part of Montana’s economic recovery from COVID-19 as more parents return to work. But some providers have closed permanently and others are struggling, adding to an already dire shortage. Recently released federal funding may only provide short term relief as the state faces a child care crisis.

A letter drafted by the Montana speaker of the House asks Gov. Steve Bullock to consider reducing government spending over concerns about declining state revenue.

The draft will be discussed by the legislative Revenue Interim Committee next week as state leaders continue to crunch the numbers of the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus pandemic in Montana.

State health department officials gave legislators an update Monday on the agency’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials say that response has a lot of moving pieces, but they’re learning fast and keeping pace.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate March 2020
Montana Department of Labor & Industry

The Montana Department of Labor and Industry issued more than 55,000 unemployment payments totaling $60 million last week.

The total includes regular unemployment payments, expanded pandemic assistance and the $600 weekly addition from the federal CARES Act.

Montana Legislature


Last week the Montana State-Tribal Relations Committee sent out a letter asking the public to respect and comply with travel restrictions the state’s tribal governments have adopted to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

A photo of a liquor store sign in Montana taken on Nov. 24, 2006.
David Cohen / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


The Montana Department of Revenue says hard alcohol sales in March spiked to levels usually just seen during the holidays. 

Gene Walborn, Director of the Montana Revenue Department, briefed state lawmakers in a recent legislative oversight interim committee about the impacts of COVID-19 on the agency.

A member of the Flathead City-County Board of Health has resigned over a controversial Kalispell physician remaining on the board. The resignation follows similar calls for Dr. Annie Bukacek’s removal.

Former Columbia Falls Superintendent Michael Nicosia resigned from the board last month over Flathead County commissioners’ refusal to remove Dr. Annie Bukacek.