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Cody, with 50 total cases and 13 active Monday morning, continues to be the home address for the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases in Park County.

However, the number of people recovering from the virus continues to outpace new infections, of which there were only two reported over the weekend.

While there have been 129 confirmed and 14 probable cases in the county – including 10 temporary residents – 107 have recovered, leaving just 36 active cases. Of those, 13 of those cases have no address listed aside from being county residents.

Dr. Aaron Billin, Park County Public Health officer, announced Sunday morning the county’s rate of positive tests continues to be low at 2.7% – compared to 3.1% for Wyoming. A rate under 5% is generally seen as a positive and states with surges have seen their rate rise to 20 or 30%.

He also confirmed no positives could be definitely linked to the Cody Stampede events.

In total Park County has seen 143 cases of COVID-19 – Billin includes temporary residents in the tally – with 128 confirmed, 12 probable and 101 recovered.

“We report all positive cases in the database because they were living in the county and contracted COVID-19 here, contributing to local transmission,” Billin said. “To the degree that it is possible, they are included in our contact tracing. Tourists are not included because they generally brought it with them, rather than contracting it in the county.”

He said the political meet-and-greet recently at a downtown restaurant – later confirmed to be Gasthaus Cardi – has become the single largest exposure and cluster of cases in the county.

One of the four candidates participating, Rachel Rodriguez-Williams who is running unopposed in House District 50 in the Republican primary, said in a letter to those attending this week’s candidate forums that she had tested positive and was in self-quarantine.

She said she’d still be available by phone, email and Facebook messenger to talk.

Contact tracing

When Powell Valley Healthcare or Cody Regional Hospital identifies a positive COVID-19 result on a rapid test, Billin said the result is faxed to the Wyoming Department of Health. The positive results of these tests and those sent by Cody Regional Hospital and processed at the WDH lab are entered into a database. 

He said public health nurses begin contact tracing as soon as they can and work discretely by phone and identifies close contacts of positive cases. Positive cases are isolated at home and close contacts are quarantined at home for the appropriate period of time to minimize transmission to others. 

“The sooner it is done, the more likely businesses will stay open,” Billin said. “Because it is done to curb the spread of communicable disease, contact tracing is exempted from HIPAA.”

When a business is affected by a positive case or exposure, Billin said the owner should contact the County Health Officer or Park County Public Health at (307) 527-8570 to discuss an appropriate response. 

The only businesses required by State Public Health Orders to close temporarily after a positive case are childcare centers. All other businesses in Park County that have closed have done so voluntarily, Billin said. 

There is no set period of time that a business must close, and some businesses may not need to close, depending on the situation. 

“Only once have we issued a public announcement concerning a gathering at a restaurant,” he said. “This was because the individuals contacted declined to provide information for contact tracing and this was the only alternative. At no time were names of individuals or businesses disclosed.”

Billin said if you think you have been exposed, then call. Self reporting and cooperation with contact tracing is the best way to limit viral spread and protect the Park County economy by keeping businesses open as much as possible.

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