With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in Park County and around the state, all county public health officers and the Wyoming Hospital Association are petitioning Gov. Mark Gordon to enact a mask mandate.

Park County is one of eight counties with a request for a county mask mandate pending at the state level.

Park County Public Health Officer Dr. Aaron Billin reported 138 active cases of COVID-19 in the county on Saturday afternoon, including 80 active cases in Cody residents.

Currently 12.9% of county residents who take a test are coming back positive. The county had averaged 3.4%. 

Rates of new cases are levelling off, however, with the Wyoming Department of Health reporting Monday morning just two new cases in the county in the last 24 hours. Sewage testing has also stabilized, albeit at a much higher level than early on in the pandemic, with 6.8% of people using city sewage shedding the virus.

Billin said in his update the drop in new cases is due to people again taking more precautions due to the recent sharp rise in cases.

“Whenever things start to get better, the citizens of Wyoming let their guard down and transmission increases,” he said. “Surprised, Wyoming gets better about wearing masks and social distancing and (the rate of transmission) decreases. This leads to a repeating cycle. We need to learn from our mistakes and sustain the effort.”

 In Park County, the 19-29 age group has been responsible for the highest plurality of total cases since the pandemic began.

“We feel that a statewide mandate sends a more powerful and effective  message in a more timely manner,” the letter from the public health officers reads in part. “With the recent dramatic increase in cases and  hospitalizations, expedited implementation is paramount. In addition, if we can slow the spread of COVID-19 we can hopefully also prevent another lockdown and speed our economic  recovery.”

On Friday, Gov. Mark Gordon said they would take the next week to look at the data provided from a recent White House study on the state to determine a range of next steps. He said everything is on the table in regards to how to slow the spread.

“Since this pandemic started, we’ve been relying on personal responsibility – how’s that working out?” he said. “If I can’t rely on you, we’re going to have to do something else. We’re going to use the data the White House has provided to make the next steps.”

He chastised state residents for being too lax.

“We are being knuckleheads about this,” he said.

Billin also recently announced Park was one of 10 counties in the state identified by the White House Task Force as needing increased caution and continued face masks due to high numbers.

In the county 641 total cases have recovered and three residents have died after contracting the virus.

Cody Regional Health reported to WDH having three adults in ICU beds as of Thursday and four of 12 ventilators being used, with a total of five patients hospitalized for COVID-19.

Powell Valley Healthcare had three patients Thursday, one on a ventilator.

The county’s recent rise has been mirrored by much of the state, which had 8,767 active cases of the virus Thursday.

(26) comments


"Ah, I've changed my mind!" A rare case on the internet, but why not try.

Groundhog - thanks for mentioning Vitamin D, Zinc, and other options! You seem to be embracing an approach that is not just black or white.

Devildog - you are right; no one is forcing me to go into my job. And like many have parrotted, "mask mandates are unenforceable." But perhaps, maybe, a mandate seen as a polite ask of our state leaders would make my job easier. After that 3-gram piece of cloth is donned on my customer's ears, we can talk business, without me souring the experience trying to teach science or sway groupthink to fence-sitters.

Booneyrat and Jackdirt - thank you for calling out common sense and the minimum action we can do. I appreciate it. As a friend of our healthcare workers, who have to deal with the people that refuse to do anything different amid a public health crisis.

Freecitizen - Have you heard about asymptomatic spreaders? or an incubation period? Yours is the comment that made me make an account, because SICK people do not know they are SICK with this disease. I assume I'm a healthy person, I know I've sneezed in my mask a dozen times this month, and I've survived the experience. Yet I touch my mask once to adjust it, and you want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Thomas Ehler's, Jr. - People are dying. If you're a troll my words are wasted, but please, think of what even 1% of a community this small means.

XMONKEY - yes please I'll take the fleeting fix even if it's a marginal difference.

Karma C - So? Let them try something? The other options are more drastic and MUCH less welcome, including to me.

Barbed Wire Bliss - are you hiring? Every business is up against the customer service tightrope of asking for mask adherence, whether the owners believe in it or not. If I end up as a COVID statistic because I didn't want to do more than encourage, recommend, or hope they have some personal responsibility to know they'd test negative (either by strict contact tracing or an actual negative test result - something I don't think potentially asympotmatic people feel comfortable taking)... then that is on me, for showing up to my job. Unless you're hiring and would take me.


I am disappointed that I was left out of your assessments of others opinions, but your assessments do give an example of the value of natural selection. Thank you.


It is Gods way of saying that there are too many people in the world.


Masks are the new Prius and those that wear them are smug entitled sheep that believe anything their TV tells them!!! Mandate masks all you want, the majority of Wyoming will NOT comply! Oh yeah and I drive a big diesel truck too!


Reading these comments confirms for the most part why nearly 80 percent of the voters in Cody went for Trump. Losers. There are no do-overs there, either...and the virus does not care.

Dave Heitzman

I have a question maybe someone can answer. The gentleman that passed away in another state (My Condolences to his family) I thought the state in which you die counts the death. Or do both states?


Let's be clear, we hear a lot today about following the science, why does past history of pandemics claim that lockdowns don't work? Why did Dr. Fouche, early in this situation say that masks don't work, and in fact can do harm? It seems to us that the mask is nothing more than a symbol, a symbol that makes us feel subjugated. We have experienced public shaming and punishment for not wearing masks, and it seems to us that we are being punished for not wearing the party "arm band". Sound familiar?? What's next? Mandatory vaccine, "show your papers", (in order to travel or attend an event?). I strongly urge the State not to force these mandates. We are an intelligent and free people, and have the right to breathe free air!! Do not force a situation you cannot enforce! The virus will go where the virus is going to go, that is the science. Why aren't you pushing the prophylactic's that are proven to work by the science? Hydroxychloroquine, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin C, it's cheep and effective. Wearing a mask is nothing but a virtue signal... and we are not into virtue signaling.

Double Diamond X Ranch

The Double Diamond X Ranch family will not recognize as legitimate any individual or institution that claims authority to mandate the wearing of masks or otherwise interfere with our honorable business pursuits. Any directive toward such mandate will be nullified.

Should the owner of private enterprise elsewhere require patrons to wear masks - fine; that is the owner’s choice.

Do not the bureaucrats and politicians of this territory recognize the abundance of information showing clearly that this illness, while as serious as the flu, is being leveraged by the technocratic state for nefarious ends? Regardless, such individuals represent an illegitimate authority, an this family will not comply.

We invite all to stand with us for peace, individual sovereignty, and freedom.

Matt Dzialak, PhD and owner

Jenine Dzialak, DVM and owner

Comment deleted.
Joe Battin

Typical Jimmy John’s post. Mean spirited, nothing positive, nothing positive. Yawn.


History will not be good to the severe lack of leadership in the White House over this pandemic...regardless what political party y'all are attached to.Why do they call it common sense when there is so little of it?


It boils down to personal freedom. If a business or individual chooses not to require masks or wear a mask nobody is forcing you shop there or be near that person. If you are that concerned about COVID then stay home. There a million ways in the world that might kill me. I am not going to live in fear and in hiding because of them.

Park County death rate from the virus- .01% of the population in Park county has died from this.

Just a thought but maybe we would be better off focusing our efforts on suicide, drug overdose deaths or alcoholism related deaths.

Jim Jones

None of these liberals care about any disease or mental condition without a political angle.


Well now that we have as a state and nation reached the point of admittingly uncontrolled spread it might be time to do something. Not sure if masks work but they can't hurt certainly. I still see lots of folks not wearing a mask. With that said whatever we're doing currently to mitigate the spread is clearly not working, more people wearing masks could help.


At the grocery store today, I witnessed 5 folks doing one or more of the following: pulling masks down/up, removing to ask questions of a stocker, adjusting their glasses and rubbing their eyes. Masks "can't hurt", right? How exactly, then, is it that most of the most draconian states for lockdown and mask mandates are STILL beseiged with this flu? Why hasn't it abated: Answer: because masks only are a form of virtue-signaling and lull the wearer into a false sense of security and go into public while SICK. There is NO other explaination for this spread...SICK people going out, sure of themselves certain that they cannot POSSIBLY infect everyone around them. 2020 is the first year that the medical intellegencia have stated that influenza is mitigated by masks. Nowhere, at no time, ever, prior to 2020 have masks been advised for the reduction in transmission or infection of any influenza. It simply gives the go-ahead for thoughless and unthinking people to live their lives in public while at the same time being sick as a dog...all while being just a little prouder of themselves and certainly have a sense of smugness and distain for their fellow man, than they were last year. You can sure see it in their eyes.

Thomas Ehlers, Jr.

Why is it that humans have such a difficult time accepting natural selection?

Harald Hardrada

This is the best comment I have seen! It might seem a little "too real" for some folks, but not me. You are exactly right Thomas *hands clapping*

Jim Jones

These are the same people who believe in evolution yet demand we save every creature on the planet from extinction.


It is interesting to watch the authoritarian's usage of fear to seek the acceptance of infringements upon the liberties of citizens. Is this a training exercise??


Everywhere you go, people are wearing masks. China is no doubt reaping a fortune selling us masks. We're having it shoved down our throats that masks are the answer, while at the same time covid cases are spiking everywhere. Let's be frank: Masks are NOT the answer. They might be a temporary and fleeting "fix," but they're not a cure, folks. This is an opportunity for people to abuse authority. Tell it like it is. My wife just got over an illness with all the symptoms of covid, yet her test came back negative. But they did tell us, "There's a lot of flu going around." And here we are, just going out twice a week at most, to the same stores, limiting all contact, distancing, wearing masks, doing all the "right stuff," and she goes and gets the flu. How do ya like that!


No one ever said masks were a cure, permanent, long-term or otherwise. So what, maybe your wife had "the flu".

Karma C

If a mask mandate worked, and it would make the virus disappear, I would be all for it. But it doesn't. If it worked, why do the numbers keep rising in places with lockdowns and mask mandates since April? Mandating masks is just a way for politicians to say they "did something to stop the virus."


Illinois, Cook County and Chicago have been under the most restrictive lockdown measures since March and they still have among the highest rates of positive cases. It looks like they have an epic failure on their hands. Millions of citizens' rights violated and all for nothing.

Closing down businesses, schools etc, and losing jobs, many permanently hasn't helped but only seemed to make matters worse.

Let's not fall for the same scam that the Progressives have fallen for.

We can protect ourselves and high risk people from the Chinese Virus without destroying our economy and livelihoods. And, we can do so without violating citizens' rights. Mask wearing is a choice and should not be mandated by anyone.

barbed wire bliss

While many of us support our health-care workers as well as supporting the wearing of masks, we also know that a mask mandate will not work because it is simply un-enforceable. Folks, if you insist on patronizing businesses who are lax in social distancing and the wearing of masks, and you end up us another Covid statistic, then that is on you.


Why doesn't the local authorities mandate the mask, answer they want cover i.e. no conjones


Might want to check your spelling, Macho Man.

Mike J

Leaders are freaking out and making tyrannical decisions based on the number of cases. Cases are based on test results. Test results are based on something far less than accuracy.

Here is what Elon Musk tweeted yesterday:

"Something extremely bogus is going on. Was tested for covid four times today. Two tests came back negative, two came back positive. Same machine, same test, same nurse. Rapid antigen test from BD."

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 13, 2020

It seems the only things consistent about these tests are the revenue streams of those who sell them.

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