The City of Great Falls has declared a State of Emergency in response to COVID-19 (coronavirus) effective March 19, 2020.
A news release says that State of Emergency is a proactive move to get ahead of contingencies once the virus hits Great Falls. While there are only 12 confirmed cases (see below)in Montana (none in Cascade County) at the moment, the national trend is moving toward Montana. Two other local jurisdictions have declared similar emergencies: the Cascade City-County Health Department and Malmstrom Air Force Base.
Once affirmed by the City Commission, the declaration gives the City Manager additional authority to protect the public from the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The declaration also authorizes the City Manager to enact temporary measure to provide relief where appropriate of city process, operations, ordinances. Finally,the order grants the City Manager authority to make sure that the City is being resourced properly so it may continue to provide essential services. The order will not necessarily free up any additional funding for the City because the President and the Governor have already declared emergencies.
The news release says that many extraordinary steps have been taken already by local businesses, nonprofits, agencies and authorities – school closures, event postponement, establishments limiting public access, restaurants providing delivery only, and the City reducing or eliminating certain non-essential services. While we are all taking extraordinary steps to slow the virus down, more action may be necessary to protect Great Falls citizens.
For more information about the City of Great Falls’ COVID-19 proactive measures, contact the Communications Division at 406-455-8496.
There are now 11 confirmed COVID-19 patients in the state of Montana. Here is the publicly-released information about them:
- Missoula County (4): man in his 50s, woman in her 30s; man in his 20s; man in his 50s
- Gallatin County (3): man in his 40s; man in his 20s; man in his 60s
- Yellowstone County (2): woman in her 50s; woman in her 20s
- Butte-Silver Bow County: man in his 50s
- Broadwater County: man in his 50s
- There is also a Montana woman diagnosed with COVID-19 who is a part-time Lake County resident; she is currently in Maryland with no documented exposures or close contacts in Montana, and was not tested in Montana. She was tested and diagnosed in Maryland, where she currently is residing.
- Cascade County: no COVID-19 cases, no formal restrictions on restaurants
- Some grocery stores begin offering periodic "seniors only" shopping
- Why COVID-19 is causing more concern than the flu
- Free COVID-19 testing and unemployment benefits for Montanans
- Bullock directs two-week closure of public K-12 schools in Montana
- How the coronavirus closure will affect Great Falls Public Schools
- CDC: Cancel or postpone all events with more than 50 people for next 8 weeks
- St. Patrick's Day parade and other events canceled due to coronavirus