Current Reopening Phase: Phase 2

Governor has Declared a State of Emergency, Read Declaration

Directive on Implementing and Establishing Phase 2 of Reopening, Read Directive

Reopening Montana Phase 2, Read Plan

Directive on mandatory use of face coverings, Read Directive

Directive on K-12 School Mask Requirement, Read Directive

Montana's Testing Information

How much does testing cost?

Testing supported by the State of Montana is offered at no charge.


Why are we testing people without symptoms?

We are learning more and more about this virus every day.  While still being investigated, most experts believe individuals can transmit the virus before they have symptoms.  We even know of individuals who never show symptoms but can carry the virus.  How much of a risk these individuals are to spreading the virus is still unknown.  The earlier we can find infected people, the better job we can do to prevent a significant outbreak within our community.


Where do I get tested if I do have symptoms of COVID-19?

If you have symptoms related to COVID-19 (such as shortness of breath, fever/chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, etc.) please call your primary physician immediately. If you do not have a primary physician, call your local health department. Do not go in for testing without calling first.


Who do I contact if I have questions about COVID-19 testing being offered in my community?

Please call your local health department. A list of County and Tribal Health Departments and their contact infomation can be found at


What type of test is being offered?

A molecular (PCR) test will be done.  Although results take a few days to be reported, this is the most sensitive and accurate test for infection of COVID-19. It will let you know if you have the virus (this is a "point in time" test so it only applies to whether or not you have the virus on the day the test is administered).  Remember to continue to practice social distancing and other public health measures to prevent acquiring COVID19.


Are there other benefits to being tested?

Yes. Some people use the test to help plan for a safer visit to family and friends. To do this, it is crucial to avoid possible exposure to the virus between the time of testing and returned negative results.  However, it is vital to understand if you have recently been exposed to COVID19, you may test negative but convert to positive within the 14 day incubation period of the virus.

Also, testing those with and without symptoms, and monitoring for early COVID-like symptoms presenting to our clinics and hospital, will help us establish trends and prevalence of COVID-19 in our area. This early information is crucial for us to minimize the impact (safety and economic) of this illness to our community. This kind of information will help the state determine when we can move to Phase 3 of Reopening the Big Sky.


What if I test positive?

As quickly as possible, confirmatory testing will be done to assure the initial test was  accurate. During this time, you will be asked to “home quarantine” while we give instruction and encourage testing to those you have had close contact with. If truly positive, our public health team will monitor your symptoms with instructions for further care if needed.


Is the testing painful?

Absolutely not! We will be using the “self-swab” technique where you will be given a swab with instructions to swab the inside of your nose – this is a shallow technique avoiding the pain of deep swabbing.


I have questions regarding COVID-19 testing in nursing homes/assisted living facilities.

For questions regarding testing of Residents and Staff of Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities, click here.

**Contact your local public health department about future testing opportunities in your area.**


  • June 3: Poplar
  • June 4: Wolf Point
  • June 8: Birney, Ashland
  • June 9: Busby, Muddy Cluster
  • June 10: Lame Deer
  • June 12: Red Lodge
  • June 13: Red Lodge, Helena
  • June 17: Arlee
  • June 18: Pablo
  • June 19: Gardiner, Miles City, Polson
  • June 20: Livingston, Miles City, Elmo, Billings
  • June 22: DeBorgia, St. Regis, Helena
  • June 23: Alberton, Superior
  • June 24: Browning, Colstrip
  • June 25: Glasgow
  • June 30: Browning, Wyola
  • July 1: Seville, Crow Agency, Lodge Grass, Pryor, Wolf Point, Poplar
  • July 2: Browning, St. Xavier
  • July 7: Ekalaka, Glendive
  • July 8: Browning, Glendive
  • July 9: Browning, Hot Springs
  • July 10th: Browning, Elder, Virginia City
  • July 11th: Billings
  • July 12th: Livingston, Gardiner
  • July 13th: Hysham
  • July 14th: Culbertson
  • July 15th: Lincoln
  • July 16th: Fort Belknap, Hays, Hamilton
  • July 17th: Fort Belknap
  • July 22nd: Fort Peck
  • July 23rd: Fort Peck
  • August 9th: Lvingston, Gardiner

Currently DPHHS is prioritizing testing at the MTPHL to ensure critical testing needs of patients and providers are met. As a result, testing performed will prioritized as follows:

Priority 1- Testing supporting response activities:

  1. Symptomatic, regardless of hospitalization
  2. Close Contacts1 and Outbreak Investigations coordinated by Public Health Authorities

Priority 2- Testing supporting surveillance/monitoring activities:

  1. Frontline workers (Health Care Workers in high-risk situations, staff of Assisted Living Facilities and Long Term Care centers participating in surveillance testing)
  2. Residents of selected congregate settings such as group homes, institutions, and other facilities


Other low priority testing will be conducted as resources allow but may not be a priority for the MTPHL. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Testing of asymptomatic people for activities such as travel
  • Pre-procedural testing such pre-ops, dental visits and similar activities 
  • Testing of individuals in the general public who are not symptomatic
  • Other individuals who seek testing that do not fit into the priority categories above

Close contacts are generally identified and referred to providers by local public health officials but instances of patient referrals may occur. If necessary, consultation with local public health officials, when feasible, if concerns regarding whether or not someone is a valid close contact exist.

If you have questions about COVID-19 testing in your county, please call your local health department. 



Cascade County


Flathead County


Gallatin County

  • For testing information and locations, please visit the Healthy Gallatin website.
  • Bozeman's Price-Rite Health Mart pharmacy is also offering free testing, by appointment only. More information on eligibility for Price Rite testing can be found here.


Madison County

  • Wednesday, August 12th from 3:00PM - 7:00PM at 7 Placer Loop in Virginia City.

Missoula County

If you are interested in advertising your community's testing event here, please email us.


For the following promotional material requests, please email

  • PR Assistance for events (ex. press releases and media advisories)
  • PSA scripts 
  • Questions on how to fill out the adobe fillable forms above