A Cheyenne health official is encouraging vaccinations and boosters among Wyoming children after seeing nearly 1,000 children in the area catch COVID in the last month.
Laramie County Health Department Executive Director Kathy Emmons told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that she was concerned about the high number of COVID cases among children, as the long-term effects of the virus are still unknown.
“Even though people may not have significant effects from COVID right now, and we hope they never do, we don’t know for sure what’s going to happen in the long term,” she said. “I think we’re coming down the other side of the hill on this outbreak, but we just don’t know.”
Emmons pointed to the removal of a mask mandate at Laramie County School District No. 1 last month and a low vaccination rate among children as two of the likely factors as to why cases are going up.
“We don’t have a high percentage of kids in Laramie County that are vaccinated, and that’s going to make a huge difference,” she said. “Unfortunately when they took the masks off in schools, that didn’t help.”
According to the Wyoming Department of Health, only 11.3% of children from ages 5 to 11 in Laramie County are fully vaccinated against COVID, while 39.6% of children from ages 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated. It was not clear if the department included data about booster shots with those numbers, though.
While students in LCSD1 are encouraged to wear masks, they are no longer required to do so. No school district in the state currently has a mask mandate implemented.
According to the LCSD1 COVID dashboard, the district has 386 active cases among students and staff, around 320 of which are students.
On Tuesday, Laramie County had 1,125 active COVID cases.
Emmons also noted this week that vaccinations and boosters would also keep people out of the hospital and experience milder symptoms if they do ultimately catch the virus.