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Briefs for July 29, 2020

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MSU announces partnership to expand COVID-19 surveillance testing 

News from the office of the Governor

MONTANA – The state will soon be able to expand surveillance COVID-19 testing for critical front-line health care personnel, essential workers and other groups thanks to a partnership with Montana State University.

Montana State University’s researchers will begin the surveillance testing next week, with a capability of testing 500 people per day. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services will determine what Montana populations need to be tested for surveillance and then will ship the samples to a designated laboratory at MSU.

“As the state’s land-grant university, this kind of service and outreach to the people of Montana is what we are called to do,” said Montana State University President Waded Cruzado. “Montana State University’s researchers have poured their creative energies into this project as well as other important endeavors that benefit the communities we serve.

Montana State University will use four qPCR machines to do the surveillance testing at the direction of DPHHS.

 Governor Bullock also announced that the state has finalized a contract with a reference lab, MAKO Medical in North Carolina, to begin processing an anticipated 1,000 tests each day from Montana. The state will take a measured approach to ensure a reasonable turn-around time in receiving back test results.


North Lake County Public Library District goes fine free

News from Abbi Dooley, director, North Lake County Public Library District

POLSON — The Trustees of the North Lake County Public Library District in Polson, voted unanimously to approve a “Fine Free Policy” for the library effective Aug. 3, 2020. Library Director, Abbi Dooley states that “late fines are not effective in getting materials returned on time. Many library systems who have taken this step have shown that fines have no impact on materials return rates. Eliminating late fines can have an immensely positive impact on our community by providing more equitable access to materials and library services for everyone.” She also noted that “fines are not a significant source of revenue for us. They account for less than 1 percent of the library’s total revenue.” The library will make all books, movies, audiobooks, music CDs and magazines fine free on Aug. 3.  Some items will still have late fines such as laptops, telescopes, NASA backpacks, and interlibrary loan materials typically received from out of state.

Dooley stated that items will still have due dates and will be considered lost after 30 days overdue. She encourages library users to sign up for email and text reminders. Dooley is also encouraging anyone with very overdue library materials to bring them back. “We just ask that you help us out by putting your name or library card number on a slip of paper inside the item so we can remove any charges.” The library will be forgiving any existing late fines on Aug. 3, so Dooley hopes this will give everyone a fresh start and a new opportunity to visit and utilize the services of the library. 


Library in Polson names activities

News from Mallory Witham, assistant director, North Lake County Public Library District

POLSON — The library is currently open Monday–Friday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and from 3-5 p.m. for holds pick up, materials checkout, materials return, and quick browsing. For those individuals who are considered to be vulnerable to this virus as defined in the Governor’s Directive, (over 65 years of age, people with serious underlying health conditions, people whose immune system is compromised), the library is open 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays for their wellbeing. Curbside pickup is available for everyone from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday –Friday. Masks are required to enter the library. We now have three laptop computers and three Wi-Fi hotspots available for checkout. Come in or call the library at 406-883-8225 to find out more. The annual Summer Reading Program has begun. This year we are taking it online.  Register at: to begin logging your reading and earning points to be entered to win great prizes from local businesses. This program is for all ages from infants to centenarians.


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