We need to protect the most vulnerable, but get the rest of our economy back up and running. That's what I've been saying consistently here in Montana. So why is it that the governor was lifting restrictions on the most vulnerable, while keeping restrictions in place on the rest of us?

That was one of the most obvious questions that needed to be asked following an outbreak at an assisted living facility in Billings, Montana. On Monday morning, Yellowstone County health officials reported an additional two deaths at the Canyon Creek Memory Care facility in Billings. That brings the total to 7 deaths in one week from that facility, as Mike Kordenbrock reports. And Canyon Creek isn't the only facility serving senior citizens in Billings that has been identified as having COVID-19 cases.

Several days after the outbreak at the assisted living facility, Lee Newspapers reported that "the facility had not started allowing visitors under a relaxed rule from Gov. Steve Bullock, nor was it participating in a surveillance testing plan that aims to test every facility statewide."

As you recall, Bullock had been blaming the facility for the outbreak (not his relaxing of the rules for nursing homes and assisted living centers). He said the facility should have been following his recommendation to take part in a "sentinel testing" program. Here's my question: if he is blaming the facility for not doing sentinel testing, why didn't he mandate the testing prior to lifting restrictions?

Some businesses are still closing their doors because of the restrictions that Gov. Bullock has kept in place. He's not recommending that they limit their business, he's ordering them to. So again, the question needs to be asked: why was he lifting restrictions on the most vulnerable members of the population while keeping restrictions in place on the rest of us?

The other major question: why would he threaten shutting down our economy again simply due to the rise in cases? As Phil Drake reported in The Great Falls Tribune, the State of Montana conducted over 17,000 COVID-19 tests in one week alone...so of course there are more cases. But if we haven't seen a big spike in hospitalizations or deaths, why would we shut down our entire economy again?

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