Yellowstone County

Coronavirus Report: Billings

Mar 20, 2020

We’ve asked reporters in communities around the state to file stories about how their towns are responding to the emerging presence of coronavirus. We’ll be publishing them in this space as they come in. News is changing fast during this ongoing story. These reports are necessarily snapshots in time. They may become outdated quickly. This piece was reported over the weekend of March 14-15, and published Monday, March 16.

Public Domain / Public Domain

Yellowstone County is preparing new rules for restaurants, bars and casinos to open up to the public again following the health department’s weeklong closure ordered earlier this week. It’s still unclear if or when that might happen amid coronavirus concern.

The novel coronavirus.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A day after declaring a state of emergency in Yellowstone County, local government leaders are asking businesses, schools and other groups to document financial impacts of the novel coronavirus. County officials say this information could attract federal relief money toward the county.

Here's a roundup of coronavirus news breaking in Montana on Monday, Mar. 16:

Jess Sheldahl / Yellowstone Public Radio News


A group of government agencies and Yellowstone county organizations have released a plan they say will cut back on drug-related crime and addiction in the region. 

A man stands at a podium in a room full of people.
Kay Erickson / Yellowstone Public Radio

Community leaders, health care providers and media got their first look at the overall health of Yellowstone County with the release of the latest health needs assessment on Feb. 10.  Mental health, substance abuse and obesity top the list.

Patrick Barkely at a BBER meeting in Billings.
Kayla Deroches / Yellowstone Public Radio


Montana’s most populated county may be reaching an economic equilibrium following a drop in oil prices in 2014 thanks to a strong base of manufacturing support services. 

Authorities have identified the bodies of four people who died in a small plane crash north of Billings over weekend.

Scott Powell

Across Montana, many farmers are noticing parts of their fields where nothing will grow, not even weeds. Researchers at Montana State University are wrapping up a multi-year project to figure out what farmers can do.

Northern Plains member Ed Gulick speaks to a crowd at renewable energy rally at the Yellowstone County Courthouse October 4.
Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio

Montana’s largest utility company is reviewing its electric rates for the first time in 10 years and one provision has people worried that the new rates could hurt clean energy progress in the state.