Wyoming health officials and organizations are asking Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon to implement a statewide mask mandate.
Park County’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Aaron Billin, released a letter on Thursday signed by all 23 county health officers, the Wyoming Medical Society and the Wyoming Hospital Association.
He said the letter was originally sent on Nov. 2 but the Wyoming Hospital Association signed on today.
“We understand that there is a mechanism for each county to individually mandate a mask ordinance. However, this would take considerably more time and would likely be less consistently achieved,” the letter reads.
“We feel that a statewide mandate sends a more powerful and effective message in a more timely manner,” it said.
Up to now, Gordon has resisted calling a statewide mask mandate, opting to let counties request a variance allowing them to institute county-wide mandates instead.
Sublette County was the latest to request a variance for a mask mandate. The county joined Laramie, Albany, and Teton counties, which had already instituted them. Natrona County issued a mask mandate for people inside Natrona County buildings.
The letter sounded concern over the record-breaking surge both in cases and hospitalizations in Wyoming over the last two weeks and said by instituting a statewide mandate, the hope would be to avoid another lockdown.
It also mentioned that 10 Wyoming counties were included in the White House Task Force’s most recent report which recommended increased caution and face masks.
“Our numbers have continued to increase as many have disregarded our recommendations,” the letter reads. “Education and encouragement alone have not achieved desired outcomes. Our health care resources are becoming critically strained with hospitalizations and deaths increasing.”
The governor will hold a press conference to address Covid-19 concerns on Friday at 10 a.m.