By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The Park County Public Health Department had strong words for those who continue to deny the value of social distancing and face mask usage in preventing the spread of coronavirus.
“The time for arguing against mask wearing and social distancing has long since passed,” the department wrote on its social media on Friday, linking to an article from peer-review medical journal The Lancet.
The study, based on a survey of more than 370,000 Americans, found that regions with a higher percentage of mask usage had better control of the spread of the coronavirus.
The Park County Health Department pointed to a particular passage from the article showing that mask mandates have apparently had little impact on the actual use of face masks and that an increasing number of people are choosing to use face coverings on their own.
“The widespread reported use of face masks combined with physical distancing increases the odds of SARS-CoV-2 transmission control,” the article said. “Self-reported mask-wearing increased separately from government mask mandates, suggesting that supplemental public health interventions are needed to maximize adoption and help to curb the ongoing pandemic.”
Park County has seen 263 positive coronavirus cases in the last two weeks. The county currently has 80 active cases as of Friday, according to the Wyoming coronavirus dashboard.
Active cases and hospitalizations across the state have generally trended downward over the last two months since Gov. Mark Gordon implemented a statewide mask mandate, which will be in effect until at least Feb. 14.
Earlier in the week, Natrona County Public Health Officer Dr. Mark Dowell credited the decrease in hospitalizations in his county to the use of face masks and social distancing.
“We’re maintaining low levels in the hospital, at around 11 to 15 patients at any one time,” Dowell said. “[This] has incredibly improved due to the community masking up and doing their job. For that, I applaud you completely.”