By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s ability to move beyond the coronavirus pandemic will depend largely on continued social distancing measures and adequate testing for the disease, according to U.S. Sen. John Barrasso.
Barrasso, in a telephone “town hall” meeting with AARP members on Wednesday, said he believes Wyoming residents have done what they should do to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“We’ve been successful so far in keeping the deaths down and even the number of cases down to the point where we have more people recovered than we have new cases each day,” said Barrasso, a surgeon. “So we are doing what we need to do, but it can’t continue forever.”
Increased testing for coronavirus would help provide the information needed for Gov. Mark Gordon to decide when to lift the public health orders he issued in March, Barrasso said, and get people back into the workforce.
“The more we can find out about testing, so we can find out who’s had it, who’s developed some immunity so they can get more involved,” he said.
However, the amount of coronavirus testing that can be done is still a concern, Barrasso said.
“The number of tests being done is increasing every week,” he said. “But we still don’t have enough tests to meet my satisfaction. We now know in Wyoming that the test results are some of the fastest in the country, but we still don’t have enough even though we’ve done 6,000. I would like that number to be closer to 60,000.”
Barrasso praised Wyoming residents for following recommendations for social distancing and said those efforts appear to have helped keep the infection numbers in Wyoming relatively low.
“We are having good results,” he said. “What we’ve seen is that, amazingly, we’ve had fewer than 300 cases.”
Activities will resume once the state has put coronavirus behind it, Barrasso said, but some impacts will be felt for some time.
“I think once we start opening up more and more, we’re still not going to be able to get to the point of having big gatherings and close associations of people,” he said. “And we are going to have to be continuing with cleansing and social distancing for some time to come.