Bullock announces state’s 11th, then 12th virus-related death; FEMA ships testing materials

Montana reported no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday morning, though Gov. Steve Bullock announced the state’s 11th death related to the virus, followed by the 12th hours later.

The name of the Toole County resident was not released, nor was the Cascade County resident later in the day.

“As we continue to learn more about how this virus can impact a rural community, I’m grateful for the dedicated healthcare workers serving on the frontline and encourage all Montanans to continue doing everything they can to stop this virus,” Bullock said in a statement. “My family is with the family of this Montanan and the Toole County community.”

Toole County has seen the most deaths in the state despite its small population. It also marks Montana’s third virus-related death in as many days, with two others announced over the weekend.

Those cases were reported in Cascade and Yellowstone counties. To date, Montana has reported 433 confirmed cases, including 38 in Missoula County, five in Ravalli County and 37 in Flathead County.

On Monday, Bullock also said the state had received 5,000 test items from FEMA. The materials, including nasal swabs, will be distributed throughout the state for additional testing.

“Just days ago I joined Republican and Democrat governors in voicing concerns to the president about the shortage of testing supplies, which impacts our ability to test on the ground,” Bullock said. “I will continue to push for further federal support in order to ensure we have the adequate testing capacity as we reopen in a way that will protect Montanans’ lives and the recovery of our economy.”