State receives swabs, transport medium for virus testing

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

HELENA – Montana received 19,500 swabs and 9,000 viral transport medium from the federal government on May 11  to assist statewide testing efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

The supplies will allow for continued testing of Montanans with symptoms of the viral disease, and allow for ramping up testing in vulnerable populations such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities and tribal communities.

"As we continue on the path of reopening, it’s critical we have consistent access to supplies to identify new cases and ambitiously contact trace to remove chains of transmission and continue to contain the virus," Gov. Steve Bullock said. “I will continue to work with the federal government and private suppliers to ensure we receive the consistent supply chain we need to reach our testing targets."

Bullock recently announced a framework to boost testing over the next several months, including a goal to eventually conduct 60,000 tests per month and prioritize testing for vulnerable Montanans in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, tribal communities, and ensure there are enough supplies to continue testing Montanans with COVID-19 related symptoms.

Last week, the state worked with nursing homes and assisted living facilities on logistics for testing and is working with facilities to schedule testing over the next several weeks.

To continue testing symptomatic Montanans and perform contact tracing and to scale up Montana’s ability to test vulnerable Montanans, Bullock has consistently participated in phone calls with the nation’s governors and the president, vice president and senior administration officials to reiterate Montana’s need for a consistent supply chain of swabs to collect samples and other supplies including viral transport medium to protect the sample during its transportation to a lab for testing.