A hospitalized Johnson County man previously identified as being infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has died, according to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).
The older man had health conditions that put him at higher risk of severe illness and complications related to COVID-19. There have been 275 confirmed and 98 probable cases reported so far from across Wyoming. This is the first reported death associated with the pandemic in the state.
“This is a sad development we hoped we wouldn’t see in Wyoming and we want this person’s family to know they have our sympathy,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH. “The advice we’ve been offering and actions we’ve taken ultimately come down to preventing as many serious illnesses and deaths connected to this disease as we can.”
Governor Mark Gordon has issued the following statement following the announcement of the first coronavirus-related death in Wyoming. The hospitalized Johnson County man had health conditions that put him at higher risk of severe illness and complications related to COVID-19.
“I am saddened to learn that we have lost our first Wyoming citizen to COVID-19. This one was close to home and sadly serves as a grim reminder of the importance of following public health orders and guidance so we can reduce the number of serious illnesses and deaths in our state. Jennie and I extend our thoughts and prayers to this gentleman’s family and friends.”
“First and foremost, JCHC wants to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the patient,” said Sean McCallister, CEO of the Johnson County Healthcare Center. “While we have yet to experience the magnitude of outbreak in Johnson County as some larger cities across the U.S., a related death is very sobering.”
Personal actions that can help avoid the spread of COVID-19 include:
· Follow current public health orders, which encourage staying home as much as possible.
· Stay home when sick and avoid contact with other people unless you need medical attention.
· Follow common-sense steps such as washing your hands often and well; covering your coughs and sneezes; and cleaning and disinfecting.
Harrist said anyone can get sick and has a chance of a serious illness with COVID-19, and anyone who is sick can pass it on to others. Symptoms reported with COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
“While we’ve learned most people who are infected are able to recover at home without medical care, we also know people who are aged 65 and older and people who have medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and weak immune systems are more likely to experience complications and become severely ill,” she said.
Harrist said WDH has worked closely with local public health and healthcare partners on COVID-19 response efforts, including in Johnson County.