Many Montanans have been wondering what incoming governor Greg Gianforte will do regarding masks. In the run-up to the election, Gianforte said he would lean on the side of personal choice when it came to wearing masks to prevent COVID-19.

In an interview with Kaiser Health News, Gianforte indicated he will give Montanans the choice to wear masks. “I trust Montanans with their health and the health of their loved ones,” Gianforte said in a recent interview with KHN. “The state has a role in clearly communicating the risks of who is most vulnerable, what the potential consequences are, but then I do trust Montanans to make the right decisions for themselves and their family.”

That's basically the same answer he gave me when I asked him the question at a campaign event this past August in Belgrade. So, it looks like our new governor is going to stay true to his word. Currently, 11 states do not have mask mandates for their residents.

Gianforte did tell KHN that he would wear a mask himself.

Here in Gallatin County, the latest COVID-19 data shows that COVID cases remain on the decline. The rolling 7-Day average of new COVID cases is down to 50. That's the lowest it's been in two months. Current hospitalizations are also back to single-digits (9) after being up over 30 just a few weeks ago.

The Montana 14-Day rolling average of new COVID cases is down 36%.

The Gallatin City-County Health Department did report six new deaths on Tuesday connected to COVID-19. According to a health department press release, the people were:

  • a woman in her 70s who died at a long-term care facility the week of Nov. 29
  • a man in his 80s who died at a hospital the week of Dec. 6
  • a man in his 80s who died at a hospital the week of Dec. 6
  • a woman in her 90s who died at home the week of Dec. 6
  • a woman in her 80s who died at a long-term care facility the week of Dec. 6
  • a woman in her 90s who died at a long-term care facility the week of Dec. 13

To date, no one in Gallatin County under the age of 50 has died because of the coronavirus. Below is the demographic breakdown of deaths in Gallatin County from data provided by the Gallatin Co Health Department.

Demographics of COVID Related Deaths in Gallatin County

50s - 1
60s - 2
70s - 8
80s - 12
90s - 12

36 deaths total (1 no data available)

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