At his press conference in Helena on Wednesday, Governor Steve Bullock provided a wildfire update and then began addressing COVID 19 and Montana’s public schools.

Bullock provided specific details on how positive cases at schools would be handled by school and public health officials.

“For schools with over 50 students, both the number of students positive and the number of staff positive will be shared along with the name of the school and in which county the school is in,” said Bullock. “For schools with between 11 and 50 students, the number of students and staff positive will be shared but it won't distinguish between our students and our staff, and for schools with 10 or fewer students, there'll be no reporting in order to ensure the protection of individual privacy.”

We're preparing for large scale vaccine distribution working off of our experience with H1N1, adopting current vaccination plans to better fit COVID-19, and identifying partners who can assist us in raising awareness of and distributing that vaccine when it's ready.

Bullock then expanded the scope of notification through the state health department.

“Data at the state level will be updated weekly on Wednesdays, or if there's a major event then the dashboard may be updated to reflect that,” he said. “The data will be posted on the DPHHS website on their demographics page that shows other information regarding COVID-19 including cases in other congregate care settings, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities. There's a link to this demographics page on the COVID-19 map at COVID-19 dot mt.gov.”

Bullock then looked forward to the time when a vaccine against COVID 19 might be available and that steps have already been taken to distribute the vaccine as soon as possible.

“Right now no major vaccine is completed clinical trials,” he said. “Our state public health department and local public health departments are no strangers to distributing and administering vaccines and we'll be ready to go as soon as the vaccine is. We're preparing for large scale vaccine distribution working off of our experience with H1N1, adopting current vaccination plans to better fit COVID-19, and identifying partners who can assist us in raising awareness of and distributing that vaccine when it's ready.”

Bullock also provided an update on remaining federal dollars available from the CARES Act.