“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (1) – 6/19/20
On Thursday, June 18, Montana confirmed 25 new cases of the COVID-19 pandemic, the largest single-day spike since March 28, a time when the state was roughly two weeks into strict lockdowns following initial waves of infections and the ensuing pandemonium. According to the Associated Press, “The new cases came from every region of the state and reflect an emerging upward trend of infections since restrictions on social movements were eased in recent weeks.” While the state’s total fatalities have remained at 20, state officials have attributed the increase to a reopened economy, a relaxing of out-of-state self-quarantine policies and increased testing for the virus. Officials warn the trend will likely worsen in the coming days and weeks as the state continues to reopen. Custer County health officials have recommended businesses resume restrictions eased in May, bringing bars and restaurants back to 50 percent capacity and gatherings to 10 or fewer people. The AP also noted the news comes as Montana’s unemployment benefit payment applications continues to decline from record highs—25 percent of the state’s eligible workforce has received some form of unemployment insurance. It begs the question—the debate of the entire pandemic—should the Custer County health officials be heeded and emulated, or should we let the economy continue to get back on track?
Editor’s note: On Friday, June 19, Montana confirmed another 11 cases across six counties.