Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in the state of Montana, US, order quarantine of arrivals to state through April 10. Other movement restrictions remain in force.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Billings, Montana
  • Butte, Montana
  • Bozeman, Montana
  • Great Falls, Montana
  • Helena, Montana
  • Kalispell, Montana
  • Missoula, Montana
  • Sidney, Montana
  • Baker, Montana
  • Havre, Montana
  • Glendive, Montana
  • Glasgow, Montana
  • Whitefish, Montana

This alert began 06 Apr 2020 23:55 GMT and is scheduled to expire 11 Apr 2020 08:00 GMT.

  • Event: Movement restrictions
  • Location(s): Montana (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 10
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions, heightened security

Summary
As of April 6, officials in the state of Montana ordered all people arriving in the state for purposes other than work to enter a 14-day period of self-quarantine. The directive also gives the Montana National Guard the power to assess all persons arriving in the state for symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). While it is scheduled to remain in effect through April 10, the order may be extended.

The order comes in addition to previously imposed measures to stem the spread of COVID-19. Nonessential businesses remain closed and residents are directed to stay at home as much as possible through at least April 10. Under the measures, people are only allowed to leave their residences to obtain basic goods, to attend to a medical issue, and to perform outdoor activities without gathering and maintaining a proper distance from others. Among the essential businesses that can remain open are grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, fuel stations, and media companies, as well as those related to food production and distribution, energy, critical infrastructure, security, and transport. Restaurants may operate only for deliveries and pickups. Other businesses can only continue operating with their employees working from their homes.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measure. Officials could amend the order at short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Montana authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

Governor of Montana - Stay at Home Order: covid19.mt.gov

Governor of Montana - Quarantine Order: governor.mt.gov

Government of Montana - COVID-19 Updates: covid19.mt.gov