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Bulllock orders people to stay at home effective Saturday


Last updated 3/26/2020 at 5:56pm

Gov. Steve Bullock issued a directive this afternoon, that, effective Saturday at 12:01 a.m., people are not to leave their homes except for essential reasons.

"We really are in this together and we can get ahead of it together," Bullock said in a press conference that started at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon.

He said he consulted with public health experts, health care providers and emergency management professionals before issuing his directive.

"I have determined that to protect public health and human safety its essential to the maximum extent possible that individuals stay at home or their place of residence," he said.

Bullock said this is an extension of what he has already directed.

"It's asking Montanans to use common sense," he said, and is asking people to do the same things the state has been asking them to do for the last two weeks.

Bullock said the first COVID-19 confirmations were on March 13, with 4 cases.

"Today that number is at 90," he said, and the state needs to take actions to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

He said the Montana government can take steps to reduce the spread of the virus, as it did during the Spanish influenza outbreak of 1918, when it closed schools and other public places across the state.

"These measures can save lives across the United States even now," he said.

He said the state and its residents need to take steps to fight the virus and protect front-line health care workers and emergency responders.

"Staying home, if you can," he said. "No gathering. Staying six feet apart from others when you can. Planning ahead to limit your contact with others. These steps will slow the spread of the virus, and, ultimately, these steps will save lives."

He said other states are seeing hospitals overwhelmed and health care workers getting sick.

"I don't want that to become Montana," Bullock said. "Its critical that we do everything we can to cut off the chain of transmission and also make sure as we flatten this curve to buy time for the health care workers on the front lines so they won't have to make what are almost impossible choices in the coming weeks."

He said the measures mean Montanans may leave their homes for essential activities including for health and safety, for necessary supplies and services, for certain types of work and to take care of others, and for outdoor activity as long as they comply with social distancing requirements.

He said his administration is following federal guidelines on what are essential services and essential employees and it will be detailed in the official directive.


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