By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Faced with new growth in the number of coronavirus cases in Wyoming, Gov. Mark Gordon on Wednesday renewed his call for Wyoming residents to take the steps they can to prevent the spread of the illness.
Gordon, during a news conference, noted that the state saw its total number of laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 27.7% in the last two weeks, with the majority of the new cases coming from seven counties.
As a result, he said, Wyoming residents must continue to observe social distancing, frequent hand washing and the use of face masks when it is not practical or possible for people to remain separated from each other.
Gordon noted that in a number of other states, a reopening of businesses has led to increases in case numbers and resulting deaths that have prompted other governors to reimpose some of the restrictions that had been in place, such as ordering bars and restaurants to close.
“This is something we don’t want to do,” he said. “So it really does depend on the people of this state to exercise good judgment and do the right thing.”
As recently as two weeks ago, officials had been hopeful that they could lift all remaining restrictions designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, such as orders limiting the size of groups indoors to no more than 50 and outdoors to no more than 250.
With the increase in case numbers and corresponding increase in the number of active cases, officials agreed such a change would not be wise, he said.
“We were successful because people were adhering to the right kinds of protocols and now we’re being less careful and that is bringing consequences,” he said.
If case numbers grow too quickly, the state will have to reimpose some of its restrictions on businesses, Gordon said.
“I know some people will give us the victory signal one finger at a time” if such rules are put back in place, he said.
Gordon and Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state’s public health officer, said despite the rise in cases, the state’s residents should be able to enjoy their Fourth of July holiday if they take the proper precautions.
“It’s possible to have fun while taking part in these activities responsibly,” Harrist said.
Harrist also said she is reviewing a request from Teton County to make the wearing of face masks a requirement inside buildings.
Officials in Teton County, where several new cases have been diagnosed in recent weeks, are seeking the order because of the number of tourists in Jackson who are not observing requests to wear masks.
Gordon also announced state residents can use, at no cost, a mobile app designed to reduce the spread of coronavirus by letting users track who they come in contact with.
The information from the Care19 Diary app will then be used for “contact tracing” to determine who might have been exposed to the illness. Gordon said the app is available from both the Google and Apple app stores.