The expected holiday bump in COVID-19 cases has arrived and Park County Public Health Officer Dr. Aaron Billin said Sunday he is expecting more severe impacts to follow.

“We will see more hospitalizations and deaths related to the Christmas and New Year’s season,” he said.

In late December, Billin said he expected to see a bump from the holiday season, as many people gathered for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, but he hoped it would be smaller than previous bumps.

But as of Sunday the county was bucking the state trend in the wrong direction. While daily new cases and hospitalizations are down for Wyoming, Billin said effective reproduction number, wastewater testing, daily new cases and hospitalizations are up in Park County.

There are 16 people hospitalized in the county with COVID-19 and 115 active lab confirmed cases, including 69 in Cody. There have been 268 lab confirmed cases in the last two weeks.

Some of the other metrics have also risen after weeks of going down, including wastewater testing, which Billin said has been a good way to see in advance if new cases will rise.

Cody’s wastewater testing rose to 8.9% from 7.9% and Powell’s to 3.6% from 3.1%.

The rate of tests coming back positive in Park County is higher than the state average, with 9.2% over the last two weeks, while the state average is 5.8%.

(8) comments


- seems like a good slot to insert come local Covid response perspective .

The Monday Jan.11 daily report from state health , issued at 3pm after the Enterprise went to press, showed an alarmingly high rate of newly diagnosed Covid cases here in Park County ... 81 in the past 24 hours , with 300 Active / Probable. That acknowledgement of 81 new cases in a single day might be just some tardy bookkeeping, catching up from the weekend. Or not. I hope that we really did not have 81 new Covid cases diagnosed in a single day in Cody and Powell... that is a huge number. The daily counts have consistently plateaued at about 30 cases /day or less in recent weeks. Given the incubation period of Covid, the 81 new cases seem to have gestated about New Year's. We used to just get whiskey hangovers from that celebration , not plague.

Unfortunately we really do not get fine grain Covid data in near real time to the extent the public deserves at the local or state level. I for one would like to know in advance where the local" hot spots" are at the storefront or venue level so they can be avoided. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to click into a map of Cody or Powell and see where the virus is working its mojo ? I would also shamelessly publish a daily directory of those retail stores, bars and restaurants, and venues that are not following facemask protocols , by name and address. I have largely avoided small businesses that do not enforce facemasking and distancing . We all should. But who are they ? How would we know, besides unreliable word of mouth ? HIPAA be danged... the 'public' in Public Health needs to supersede when people start dying.

The point is : we are coming up on the first anniversary of the appearance of the coronavirus in America. After a year the virus is still winning. Especially in Wyoming. The reality is we could have beat back and halted the virus nationwide last Spring in the March-April time frame , but only if we had top tier leadership and engaged a national pandemic plan at street level like was done in other countries like Taiwan, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam. Taiwan is barely twice the size of Park County but has 28 million residents, a thousand times the number of folks living in Park County. Yet the island nation has recorded only a thousand active cases and a mere 7 total deaths to date . Seven. That's all. Don't tell me it can't be done. A great many nations have beat back the virus .

The pandemic plan the Trump administration was bequeathed by the Obama administration was promptly thrown out and the Trump cabal shut down the relevant pandemic office inside Homeland Security three weeks after taking office way back in 2017 on orders from the top , probably because Trumpsters confused it with Obamacare or something, which they also were foolishly trying to do away with. Trump did nothing in the crucial month of February when viral load was low. The ensuing counterproductive politically driven mismanagement of the pandemic response from the White House reached all the way down to Wyoming , dysfunctional at nearly every turn. The reality now is that public vaccinations for common folk are still a couple months away , with Wyoming on hind teat as usual . It takes weeks for the vaccinations to generate antigens ; months for the ill-named herd immunity in a population to become a shield , if ever. It's been estimated that at least a third of Wyoming residents won't take the vaccine at all, likely the regrettable result of being brainwashed by all manner of disinformers ( looking at you, Anti-Vaxxers ) and that other pandemic we are suffering - Conspiracy Theorism - which is also rampant hereabouts. The SARS CoV-2 virus may have emanated from China, but it might as well come to America branded under the Trump name. It is in almost every way rightly called the Trump Virus . Future Historians will say as much as they asterisk our dear leader's legacy.

Wyoming may never become immune to Covid or its variants because we are once again our own worst enemy . Being majority Cowboy Conservatives it was easy to surrender to Trumpism. Be forewarned that the SARS CoV-2 virus is only the first test of our pandemic response. There will be more viruses , in time. Have we learned anything ? Are we even capable of learning , let alone responding proactively as a whole ? I think ... not much. The Covid Pandemic was not just a test of our public health resolve, it was in fact a national I.Q. test or perhaps an assessment of our worthiness to contine being the domant species on Gaia. We flunked.

Now we are paying dearly for the Cult of Trumpism with its misguided conservative 'public health follies baked in. A perilous pandemic that could have been eliminated in 2-3 months last year will now be with us for 2-3 more YEARS in one form or another, because we were and remain so innately selfish and stupid . Facts and science were trumped by misinformation and flawed faith cobbled up from various wrongheaded beliefs . The pandemic is a sterling example of the abject failure of the Republican dogmas of personal responsibility trumping public priorities . To wit: no matter what the federal government does the state and private sector can do it better ( often by not doing anything at all ). The Gubbamint can't tell me what to do with my life.

To the chagrin of educated clear eyed people without respect to political chicaneries , the more reactionary plebeians will claim personal liberties and freedoms, however abstracted , are always more important than being able to remain upright and draw breath another day , and will fall on that sword in defiance. Never mind there is nothing in the Constitutions that protects a right to infect others with mortal diseases without consequence. Neither does your social obligation stop at your property line. The virus does not respect your Castle Doctrine or anything else on the scrolls... secular or sacred. It will replicate if given half a chance, and we seem to invite it to do just that. Do you really need to be told that wearing a facemask in public is in fact the patriotic thing to do and the American Way ? Apparently so . Einstein was fond of quoting a fellow academician when he said " Against stupidity even the gods struggle in vain ..."

The only thing that saved Wyoming so far was its sparse population and geographic isolation. That is no longer the case , judging from today's covid count in Park County and the national specter . Seems to me like the virus is just getting going around here...

I will turn 70 years old in a couple months, and am at very high risk owing to several health conditions. Covid would likely kill me if the common Cody Crud respiratory illness I had a few years back was any indicator. My lungs inflamed shortly after Christmas and were still on fire come Easter, and I never got back to real pulmonary wellness ( cough , cough ) . I can hope that my hometown Cody folks would mask up and be mindful of Covid's pernicious potential . I don't want to die because I breathed in the very air of a county that voted overwhelmingly for the SuperSpreader-in-Chief. I am living for the day when that precious vaccine needle is sticking out of my shoulder. A day that cannot come soon enough for all of us Park County pleibians irrespective of political persuasion.


Yawn. You are a terrible writer and should go back to grammar school.


Dear Dewey,

Your mask protects you.



So, the main point of your piece is: "I'm an old sick man and am looking forward to recieving my vaccine which was developed in 8 months rather than the normal 8 years, or possibly never, as in the long anticipated AIDS vaccine". The other 2000 words are "I dislike conservatives to the point of wishing for them being hit by a car so as to save the rest of us". To this, I respond: Dewey, I want to get along with you, too.


You really know nothing about vaccine development, past or present , do you ? This isn't 1950 and the analog Jonas Salk era. We've come light years since Louis Pasteur's primitive trial and error crude immunology. But somehow evoking digital pathology research to explain genetic engineering and Messenger RNA tech to present company would be futile. I'll just say that mRNA is proving to be a template that will allow new vaccines to be developed in weeks, not years, going forward. Which comes in handy considering SARS CoV-2 has at least six major strains and many mutations , and has proven to have lifelong effects. There are 1500 known coronaviruses in the wild. Veterinarians are well acquainted with them. Please don't conflate coronavirus with HIV or any other endemic pathogen, viral or bacterial . The reason there is no HIV/AIDS vaccine after 40 years is the HIV virus has by definition already debilitated or destroyed the very human immune system needed to create defensive antigens. Your assessment fails by using an analogy that is meaningless.

The rest of your response is not worth the courtesy of a reply. Look both ways before crossing the street, and wear your mask in public. Thank you.


Dewey, your description of HIV debilitating the very immune system as the reason vaccines fail, presumes the vaccine is trying to prevent HIV in a person that is already infected with HIV. That would be a "cure". A vaccine is given to healthy people, with generally intact immune systems prior to infection. Experts in 1984 predicted a vaccine for HIV would be in use in 2 years. So, don't feel bad. You're not the only one who has ever been wrong.

Jim Jones

"HIPAA be danged... the 'public' in Public Health needs to supersede when people start dying."

Like every single Democrat in 2021, Dewey believes laws are mere suggestions. Why then, when most of Park County ignores a face mask "order" does Dewey go ballistic?

If Covid was as dangerous as Dewey claims, Dewey should be dead by now.


Jim Jones - I fully realize how mechanically difficult it would be to insert a factual thought into your ossified cranium , but will try anyway : I am not a Democrat. Repeat: you accuse me of being a Democrat when I am not. In fact I am registered as Republican and have been since ( I think 1988 ) and certainly since 1992, ever since. The voter registration rolls are public record. See for yourself.

I do vote for a good number of Republicans at the state and local level. I did not vote for Obama for either term. Wrote in a third party.

My political party has not been born or raised yet. Those other two parties are tired, old , no longer relevant but no less reactionary.

Your assertions and peronalized accusations towards me are fallacious. Truth be told, your actual knowledge of All Things would disqualify you from competing in any Knowledge Bowl. You are much closer to the Jim Jones of the kool-aid cult down in Jonestown , Guyana , South America , in espousing inane or even insane beliefs over available facts. My gauge of your sagacity - which has not fluctuated since you began outgassing hereabouts - is you are in highest probability a sterling example of the Dunning-Kruger Effect if I have ever seen one... ( look it up ).

If that is asking too much , I'll just scold you by saying ' quit trying to do my thinking for me '. That would be way above your intellectual weight class. Oh by the way , SARS CoV2 is very dangerous. Just not as dangerous as a pandemic of ignorance

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