Park County is facing another uptick in COVID-19 cases.
In the last four days 16 residents have been confirmed positive for the virus and five more are probable, while the Cody Regional Health Long Term Care Center is in the process of testing and contact tracing after reporting a positive case of COVID-19.
LTCC Director Brian Huso said an employee tested positive during a routine monthly screening. Staff are conducting required testing and protocols to keep everyone as safe as possible.
“(The employee) did not have any signs or symptoms at the time and still does not have any signs and symptoms but is self-quarantining at home for the required time frame as mandated by (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services),” Huso said.
Friday afternoon The Irma also announced on Facebook its bar and dining service were temporarily being shut down due to “a positive Covid test situation with employees.” The post said staff are working with the state health department and contact tracers and hope to reopen as soon as possible.
Dr. Aaron Billin, Park County Public Health officer, did not specify the restaurant, but Monday mentioned an establishment as having chosen to temporarily shut down services.
“In a responsible move, a Cody restaurant has voluntarily closed due to nine employees recently testing positive for COVID-19,” Billin said. “Most of these were asymptomatic. The investigation was triggered by two symptomatic employees testing positive.
“This occurred despite the business doing a good job complying with the State Public Health Orders.”
The uptick came as Cody’s testing of municipal sewer users for signs of the virus has increased substantially in the last few weeks to 2%, meaning roughly 500 people using the city sewers are shedding the virus. These people either have active cases or are recently recovered, Billin said.
Park County’s rate of positive tests has also increased, and four people are hospitalized with the virus at Cody Regional.
“(This) suggests a significant increase in active COVID-19 cases in Park County within the next week,” Billin said. “Please be conscientious in following State Public Health Orders, social distancing, and wearing masks when appropriate.”
Active cases in Park County were up to 26 as of Monday morning, with 13 in Cody, eight in Powell, two in Wapiti and one each in Ralston, South Fork and Meeteetse.
There have been 221 people in the county who had probable or confirmed cases of the virus, with 198 recovered.
In Park County, 1.5% of people who have taken a test have come back positive, with 3,937 tests among county residents.
While the hospital previously reported two different staff members with the virus, both having long since recovered, no cases have been announced at the Long Term Care Center until now.
Until the positive case, residents had been allowed to meet with family members in an outdoor area from a 6-foot distance. However, the facility has been closed to the public since March.
CRH works with the county public health department to track confirmed cases. It also works with internal call center to help provide follow-up communication with employees who may have been exposed.
The state public health department has special guidelines for long-term care centers that require them to shut doors to the public and undergo rigorous, daily testing protocols in the event of a positive case.