Wyoming has not escaped the global pandemic of COVID-19. Though Wyoming’s numbers remain low compared to other states, the virus has made itself known in the area.
In these precarious times, Red Cross of Wyoming has adapted response protocols to be able to keep staff and volunteers safe.
Unfortunately, house fires and other disasters don’t cease because there’s a pandemic going on. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, Red Cross of Wyoming DAT teams have responded to nine house fires, assisting 32 individuals. The need for social distancing has meant finding new ways to respond to such incidents. Because of the widespread area that Wyoming covers, volunteers have already had some experience responding remotely to disasters, but the new reality has added another layer of seriousness to the experience.
DAT response now means conducting interviews by phone and having a local partner like fire, police, emergency manager, or other entity verify damage. Working with a local volunteer or runner, the Client Assistance Card is activated remotely and delivered to the client. A recent example occurred in Cheyenne.
Because of the low rate of positive cases, Wyoming facilities have been able to respond without requiring much assistance from the Red Cross. In Natrona County, a community medical shelter has been established at a local elementary school to provide a safe and secure location for individuals awaiting results of COVID-19 tests who may not otherwise be able to self-isolate. Red Cross of Wyoming has provided cots, blankets, and comfort kits to support the shelter, which has had occupancy off and on for more than four weeks.