By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The University of Wyoming currently has the largest number of active cases it has seen since the pandemic began.
As of Wednesday, there are 239 active cases among the UW community: 27 students living on campus, 188 students living off campus and 24 employees.
Four active cases have been detected on the fifth floor of Downey Hall, prompting the university to direct all of the students on that floor to shelter in place, in the same manner that students on other residence hall floors have been told to shelter in place this semester.
Students on the floor who haven’t been in close contact with infected individuals are allowed to go to in-person classes and leave for work or religious activities.
“At this point, we aren’t imposing a broad shelter-in-place directive but, with just two and a half weeks before Thanksgiving break, it’s a crucial time for everyone to buckle down and do everything we can to limit further spread of the virus,” UW President Ed Seidel said. “We’re making tremendous efforts to keep our campus open and maintain some in-person instruction to the highest level possible, but those efforts are effective only to the extent that people follow our policies.
We are especially concerned that some students could contract the virus but not have symptoms and, if not sheltering in place and following all the protocols established to limit the spread of the virus, could take it home to their families at Thanksgiving.”
Seidel just came out of quarantine after attending a gathering where one of the attendees tested positive for the coronavirus. Seidel tested negative, but stayed in isolation, just in case.
The UW president also issued a statement on Thursday backing Albany County’s mask order, which will go into effect Friday afternoon.
“The university has had a face protection requirement for our campus since summer, based on the fact that proper face coverings are scientifically shown to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” Seidel said. “We appreciate the work of our local officials to put this important provision in place for our whole community.”
In Albany County, there are 819 active cases of COVID-19, according to the Wyoming Department of Health. Six people have died as a result of the disease in the county, which has the highest seven-day number of cases per capita among the state’s 23 counties.