Community

How The Pandemic And An Anti-Vax Health Official Are Roiling A Montana Community

Even as Montana begins a gradual easing of stay-at-home restrictions intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the political schism it highlighted is creating reverberations in one community in the northwestern corner of the state.

A Flathead County health board member who led a movement to disparage the protective safety orders and downplay the virus is now the subject of two competing petitions — one to expel her from office and another to keep her.

When the commissioners in this county of about 104,000 people appointed Dr. Annie Bukacek to the health board in January, they might have known they were getting into a political hornet’s nest. “Dr. Annie,” as she’s known in the Flathead Valley, is a well-known and outspoken opponent of vaccinations.

Then, as the coronavirus spread into Montana and the crisis deepened here and across the country, she became a leading voice locally and in this

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In The Middle Of The Country, A Hospital And Its Community Prepare For The Surge

Megan Kampling and her husband were only a few days into a spring break trip with their children when Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly shut down schools in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“We both just looked at each other and said, ‘What are we going to do?’” Kampling recalled.

She works in the pharmacy department at Ascension Via Christi hospitals in Wichita and her husband is an officer with the Wichita Police Department, making them both essential workers who could not work remotely. But they have a 2-year-old and a kindergartner.

The hospital system where she works came to the rescue: Via Christi opened its Child Development Center to the elementary school children of its staffers. Kampling, whose toddler already went there, is being reimbursed for the

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A Colorado Ski Community Planned To Test Everyone For COVID-19. Here’s What Happened.

In late March, residents of the Colorado town of Telluride and surrounding San Miguel County stood in line, along marked spots spaced 6 feet apart, to have their blood drawn by medical technicians wearing Tyvek suits, face shields and gloves for a new COVID-19 test.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tests for the virus that causes the respiratory illness have been in short supply since the outbreak began, this was a new type of test. It wasn’t to see who was sick right now. It was an antibody test that would assess who had been exposed and how widespread the virus was in the community to inform decisions about managing the outbreak.

When part-time Telluride residents and United Biomedical Inc. co-CEOs Mei Mei Hu and Lou Reese had offered to provide their company’s newly developed COVID-19 antibody tests for free to not just Telluride, but all of

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