Coronavirus

Park County’s lone person who had tested positive has recovered from COVID-19, according to Public Health officer Dr. Aaron Billin in his Tuesday night update.

As of that point, 133 tests have been collected in Park County with 117 negative tests and 15 pending, while the Cody health care worker remains the sole positive case.

After she had tested positive, Cody Regional Health staff monitored others who had been in contact with her.

“All other follow up regarding this case has been completed and there are no concerns,” hospital spokesperson Annalea Avery said.

That does not mean the county is free from the virus, and Wednesday morning the Wyoming Department of Health released more guidance on keeping any spread to a minimum.

“Most reported cases of COVID-19 in Wyoming so far can describe a likely source of infection, such as contact with a known case,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with Wyoming Department of Health. “But there are others with an unknown source of infection and there are likely more illnesses than we have been able to track. 

“We believe there is local community spread in Wyoming.”

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath, which are also symptoms of other respiratory illnesses such as influenza.

“If you’re sick, we need you to stay home except to get medical help if your symptoms include trouble breathing, steady chest pain or pressure, or bluish lips or face,” Harrist said. “We suggest calling ahead to a medical professional for help to decide whether you need more evaluation or calling 911 for an obvious medical emergency.”

On Tuesday afternoon Teton County implemented its “Stay at Home” order, while Gov. Mark Gordon resisted issuing a statewide order, saying the three statewide orders already in place are sufficient to “flatten the curve” of coronavirus infections. 

Those orders close schools and businesses where more than 10 people are like to gather, close businesses that provide personal services, such as hair salons and tattoo parlors, and prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people.

Gordon said during a news conference Monday that if he issues a statewide order, it will be very restrictive and contain very few exceptions.

“If we’re going to issue a ‘shelter in place’ or ‘stay at home’ order, it is not going to have multiple exemptions,” he said. “It will be a true ‘shelter in place’ order.”

Wyoming’s coronavirus case count stood at 137 on Wednesday evening as 17 new cases were detected.

As of Wednesday evening, Laramie County had the highest number of cases in the state with 35. Teton County had 26; Fremont County had 25 cases; Natrona County had 15; Sheridan County had 10; Johnson County had seven; Campbell five; Albany, Sweetwater and Carbon had three; and Converse had two. Goshen, Park, Sublette and Washakie counties all reported one case. 

In other developments:

• Better grade: Wyoming’s grade for self-isolating success has gone up in recent days to a “D-.” Unacast, a company that uses cell phone signals to track the movement of people, reported Wyoming residents have reduced their travel by 25% since late February and have cut back on “non-essential visits” by 55% to 60%.

The state about a week ago had received an “F” because travel by its residents actually increased slightly from late February. The state’s travel still merits an “F” in the company’s rankings, but its reduction in non-essential visits earns it a “D.” 

• Tracking the untested: A volunteer group is collecting information on Wyoming residents who believe they have coronavirus symptoms but have been unable to be tested. UntestedWyoming is asking individuals to use its website, UntestedWyoming.com, to report their symptoms, experiences and, if desired, contact information for delivery to Wyoming’s COVID-19 Task Force and Gordon.

Nick Schwaderer, a programmer and former Montana legislator, created the website for Wyoming about a week after launching a similar site for Montana.

Health officials have said they are prioritizing who to test for the illness because of the nationwide shortage of test kits. 

First priority is being given to hospitalized patients and health care providers and staff.

• Re-evaluation requested: State Rep. Scott Clem, R-Gillette, is asking Gordon to reconsider his orders closing businesses and limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people. In a letter to Gordon, Clem said he can see no “end-game” to the business closures forced by the coronavirus and resulting job losses and economic impacts.

Clem suggested Gordon develop plans to send people back to work and school while focusing state resources on reinforcing the state medical community’s ability to deal with coronavirus. He also suggested Gordon call a special legislative session to deal with the issue.

 

 

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