Park County Health Officer Aaron Billin warned citizens on Monday that coronavirus has spread further than might be indicated by the county’s low number of infections.
Citing a University of Texas at Austin study, Billin said citizens should expect higher cases than what is reported.
Thus far, only one COVID-19 case has been confirmed in Park County. That individual has now recovered.
“These numbers do not mean that we don’t have COVID-19 in Park County,” Billin said. “The study authors estimated that for every diagnosed case, there were 10 cases undiagnosed. Aggressive social distancing is as important as ever.”
The study, entitled “Probability of Current COVID-19 Outbreaks in All US Counties” said the virus is spreading undetected because of the “high proportion of asymptomatic and mild infections and limited laboratory testing capacity.”
“If a county has detected only one case of COVID-19, there is a 51% chance that there is already a growing outbreak underway,” the study reads.
“For counties that have not yet reported a confirmed case, the chance that there is an undetected outbreak underway is 9%. A single detected case of COVID-19 increases that risk to 51%.”
The authors of the study said they put the analysis together to help lawmakers.
“Public health officials are making grave decisions amidst overwhelming uncertainty, and are often waiting for compelling evidence of local transmission prior to issuing social distancing orders,” they said.
As of Monday afternoon, there were five counties in Wyoming where the virus has not been detected: Hot Springs, Big Horn, Platte, Niobrara, and Weston.