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71 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Monday; 552 Active

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s active coronavirus cases fell by almost 40 on Monday as the state’s reported recoveries exceeded the new cases.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received new reports of 116 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases Monday.

At the same time, the state reported 71 new laboratory-confirmed and six new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 552 active cases, a decline of 39 from Sunday.

Sweetwater County had 85 active cases Monday; Teton County had 78; Fremont County had 64; Laramie had 57; Uinta had 45; Natrona had 40; Carbon had 35; Lincoln had 21; Park had 20; Albany and Sheridan had 19; Campbell had 16; Big Horn and Platte had 11; Goshen had seven; Johnson and Washakie had five; Sublette and Weston had four; Converse had three; Niobrara had two, and Hot Springs had one.

Crook County reported no active cases on Monday.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, subtracting the number of recoveries during the same period among patients with both confirmed and probable cases and taking into account the number of deaths attributed to the illness.

New confirmed cases were reported in 18 counties. Sweetwater had the highest number of new cases at 14. Fremont County had eight new cases.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 54,471 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020.

Of those, 53,248 have recovered.

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32 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Sunday; 519 Active

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming fell to its lowest level in five months Sunday, dropping below 600 for the first time since mid-September.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its coronavirus update, reported 32 new laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday, along with 12 new probable cases.

At the same time, the number of reported recoveries among those with either confirmed or probable cases fell to 591, a decline of 90 from Friday, the last day an update was issued.

The total is the lowest seen since Sept. 16, when the state had 549 active cases.

Sweetwater County had 89 active cases Sunday; Teton County had 86; Fremont County had 76; Laramie County had 58; Uinta had 45; Natrona had 41; Carbon had 36; Lincoln had 26; Park and Sheridan had 21; Albany and Campbell had 19; Platte had 12; Big Horn had 10; Goshen had eight; Converse had six; Johnson had five; Sublette and Weston had four; Washakie had three, and Niobrara had two.

Crook and Hot Springs counties had no active cases as of Sunday.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, subtracting the number of recoveries during the same period among patients with both confirmed and probable cases and taking into account the number of deaths attributed to the illness.

New confirmed cases were reported in 10 counties. Sweetwater County had the highest number of new confirmed cases at 11, followed by Lincoln County with four.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought the number of people diagnosed with the coronavirus since the illness was first detected in Wyoming in March 2020 to 54,394.

Of those, 53,132 have recovered, according to Department of Health Figures.

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Wyoming Could Receive 47K Vaccine Doses in March

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming is expected to receive 47,370 doses of the coronavirus vaccine next month, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.

That amounts to approximately 5,000 doses of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines every week, although there will be a total of 7,020 doses delivered to a handful of counties around the state in the first week of the month.

The totals reported are only for the first doses of the two vaccines, the department said. It also noted the numbers could change and are only an estimate at this time.

Fremont County is receiving only the Pfizer vaccine every week, with 4,680 expected to arrive by the end of the month. Laramie County is receiving more of the Pfizer vaccine, with only 400 doses of the Moderna vaccine scheduled to be delivered for the entirety of March.

Laramie and Natrona counties are expected to receive the largest number of doses of the vaccine next month, with each county getting a total of 5,280 of the two vaccines.

Laramie County has received the most doses of the vaccine since they began shipping out in December, with 12,570 doses. Natrona County followed with 11,970.

More than 82,000 Wyoming residents have received the first dose of the vaccine, while 41,906 have received their second dose as of Friday.

This week, officials announced that Johnson and Johnson had produced a safe and 72% effective vaccine that only requires one dose, but it wasn’t clear when that vaccine might become available. According to USA Today, the vaccine is being reviewed by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.

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Wyoming COVID Hospitalizations Drop to 20

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s coronavirus-related hospitalizations have dropped again steadily in the past week, falling from 31 to 20.

According to the Wyoming hospitalization tracker, there has been a slight uptick in cases this week, with a low of 19 coronavirus patients as of Monday increasing to 25 as of Wednesday.

However, the number dipped by five in one day on Thursday, declining to 20.

The Wyoming Medical Center in Casper had the most patients, with seven. The Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, Cody Regional Health and Platte County Memorial Hospital followed, with each having two coronavirus patients.

Nearly 50 intensive care unit beds across the state were in use, 11 each at the Wyoming Medical Center and Cheyenne Regional Medical Center. But just because someone is in the ICU doesn’t mean they are a coronavirus patient.

Of Wyoming’s available 264 ventilators, only 15 were in use, six at the Wyoming Medical Center, five at the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, three at Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie and one at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County.

However, just because someone is on a ventilator doesn’t mean they are a coronavirus patient.

Wyoming hospitals have conducted 86,077 coronavirus tests since the beginning of the pandemic one year ago. The average seven-day positivity rate is now 3.36%.

Among Wyoming residents, there have now been 671 coronavirus-related deaths, 45,780 lab-confirmed cases and 8,164 probable cases reported since the pandemic began.

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124 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Thursday; 652 Active

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Laboratory-confirmed COVID cases increased by more than 120 on Thursday to push the number of active cases in the state back over 650, according to Wyoming Department of Health figures.

The department’s latest coronavirus update said the state saw 124 new confirmed cases of coronavirus Thursday, along with 90 new probable cases.

However, the department also received new reports of 200 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 652 active cases, an increase of 14 from Wednesday.

Sweetwater County had 96 active cases; Fremont County had 93; Teton County had 88; Carbon County had 65; Laramie had 60; Natrona had 46; Uinta had 42; Lincoln had 30; Sheridan had 27; Park had 19; Albany and Campbell had 16; Platte had 13; Goshen had nine; Converse had eight; Big Horn had seven; Weston had five; Washakie had four; Johnson and Sublette had three, and Hot Springs and Niobrara had one.

Crook County reported no active cases Thursday.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, subtracting the number of recoveries during the same period among patients with both confirmed and probable cases and taking into account the number of deaths attributed to the illness.

New cases were reported in 17 counties, with Sweetwater County reporting the highest number of new cases at 29. Laramie County’s case count increased by 25.

The increases in confirmed and probable cases brought to 54,202 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the illness was first detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 52,879 have recovered, according to Health Department figures.

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Gordon Keeps Mask Mandate But Relaxes Other Health Orders

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Gov. Mark Gordon on Thursday announced that many of Wyoming’s statewide public health orders would be relaxed on March 1, although the statewide mask mandate will continue until at least March 15.

This is the fourth time the mask order has been continued since it was enacted in December to slow the spread of coronavirus.

However, Gordon announced that beginning Monday, restrictions on the operations of barber shops, nail and hair salons and other personal care service would be eliminated completely, while limits on gatherings would be relaxed.

Gordon cited improvements in the state’s overall coronavirus picture in announcing the relaxation of the rules.

“If we continue on our current trajectory, I expect us to be able to continue to remove orders as we safely return to a new normal,” he said in a news release.

In addition to the elimination of restrictions on personal care service, the rules for attendance limits at events will be relaxed again, as will protocols for restaurant and theater operations.

Facilities hosting indoor gatherings that incorporate social distancing and face coverings will be allowed to admit up to 25% of capacity up to 1,000 people, while outdoor gatherings of up to 2,000 people will be allowed.

Restaurants will also be allowed to seat up to groups of 10 at one table — an increase from previous limits of eight — and open buffets and other self-service options.

In addition, sporting events and artistic performances will see participation limits eased. 

“The efforts made so far have allowed us to maximize attendance safely at larger events like the state high school wrestling championships this weekend and the state high school basketball tournament that was canceled last year,” Gordon said.

Additional changes to statewide protocols are expected to continue as metrics allow, Gordon said.

Vaccination efforts are expected to help accelerate that process.

As of Thursday,  more than 16% of the state’s population has received at least one vaccine dose – one of the highest rates in the country.

All Wyoming counties are now in phase 1B of the phased distribution plan, which includes adults 65 and over, frontline essential workers and individuals with medical conditions that put them at higher risk. 

While the statewide orders have been relaxed, four Wyoming counties have won variances to be exempted entirely from the orders because of improving conditions within their borders.

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State Removes Mask Order for Johnson County; Capacity Orders Also Eliminated

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Johnson County was exempted from all statewide health orders this week, with residents joining those of Washakie County in no longer being required to wear a mask in public places, although it’s still encouraged.

The county was granted four variances Monday by state Public Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist, responding to a request made by Johnson County Public Health Officer Dr. Mark Schueler because of the dropping number of coronavirus cases over recent weeks.

As of Thursday, the county had no active coronavirus cases.

In addition to the lifting of the mask requirement, the variances allow restaurants, bars, gyms and other places where people might gather to operate without restrictions and allow more people to gather for inside and outdoor events than are allowed to gather under current statewide rules.

Other reasons for Harrist approving the variances included the fact that Johnson County Healthcare Center had an adequate supply of coronavirus tests, there were no coronavirus cases in any of the local nursing or assisted living facilities and that there was also an adequate supply of personal protective equipment in case of a spike.

Gov. Mark Gordon implemented a statewide mask mandate in December and it is in place until at least the end of the month.

While these two counties received variances this week, Niobrara has led the state in no longer requiring mask use. The county received a variance from the state in late December, although private business owners could implement their own mask rules to be followed if they wish to do so.

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Washakie County Mask Order Rescinded; Capacity Limit Mandates Also Dropped

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Washakie County has received multiple variances from public health orders and its residents are now no longer required to wear masks in all public places, although it is still encouraged.

The county was granted four variances by state Public Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist, responding to a request made by Washakie County Public Health Officer Dr. Amber Moss because of the dropping number of coronavirus cases over recent weeks.

As of Wednesday, Washakie County reported only five active COVID cases.

In addition to the lifting of the mask requirement, the variances allow restaurants, bars, gyms and other places where people might gather to operate without restrictions and allow more people to gather for inside and outdoor events than are allowed to gather under current statewide rules.

Other reasons for Harrist approving the variances included the fact that Washakie Medical Center had an adequate supply of coronavirus tests, there were no coronavirus cases in any of the local nursing or assisted living facilities and that there was also an adequate supply of personal protective equipment in case of a spike.

However, mask use will still be required in county schools and day care centers.

Gov. Mark Gordon implemented a statewide mask mandate in December and it is in place until at least the end of the month.

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21 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Wednesday; 638 Active

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The number of active coronavirus cases increased by 33 on Wednesday as the state reported 44 new laboratory-confirmed and probable cases.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, said it saw 21 new confirmed and 23 new probable cases on Tuesday, while it received new reports of recoveries among 11 people with confirmed or probable cases.

The numbers left the state with 638 active cases, an increase of 33 from Tuesday.

Fremont County had 91 active cases; Teton County had 86; Sweetwater County had 85; Carbon had 61; Natrona had 53; Laramie had 47; Uinta had 38; Lincoln had 32; Sheridan had 31; Park had 20; Albany and Campbell had 18; Platte had 13; Converse had 11; Big Horn and Goshen had nine; Washakie and Weston had five; Sublette had three; Hot Springs had two, and Johnson had one.

Crook and Niobrara counties reported no active cases on Wednesday.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, subtracting the number of recoveries during the same period among patients with both confirmed and probable cases and taking into account the number of deaths attributed to the illness.

New confirmed cases were reported in 12 counties. Lincoln County had the highest number of new cases at six.

The increase in confirmed and probable cases brought the total number of Wyoming residents diagnosed with coronavirus since the pandemic began to 53,988.

Of those, 52,679 have recovered since March, according to Department of Health figures.

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More Wyomingites Eligible to Pre-Register for COVID Vaccine

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Wyoming Department of Health is expanding the eligibility pool for Wyomingites who can pre-register to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

People who are 65 years of age and older, those with certain medical conditions and their caregivers who may be otherwise ineligible for vaccination can now pre-register to receive a vaccine.

The expansion includes people who have specific diagnosed illnesses or conditions that put them at greater risk of more serious COVID-19 disease.

“As the pandemic has continued we have seen that people with certain health challenges are clearly more likely to become severely ill when they are infected with COVID-19,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH. “These vaccines can help protect these individuals.”

Health conditions considered to put people at higher risk for COVID include cancer, diabetes, heart conditions, pulmonary conditions, compromised immune systems and neurological disorders such as strokes or dementia.

Certain groups of frontline essential workers who interact with the public and are unable to consistently physically distance from others are also now eligible to register for vaccination.

Vaccinations for these groups will mostly be arranged through employers, who should expect to be contacted by local public health agencies to schedule vaccinations for their workers.

“It’s very important for people to understand counties are moving through the priority groups at different paces based on the number of people in each group and uptake at the county level,” said Angie Van Houten, Community Health Section chief with WDH. “This means there are differences in progress and availability based on where you live.”

Specific registration processes also vary from county to county within Wyoming.

At least 92,000 Wyoming residents have received at least their first doses so far when state and special federal counts are combined.

Van Houten noted shipments of Moderna doses delayed by national weather last week arrived on Monday. Moderna shipments expected for this week’s allocation may arrive later in the week than usual as distributors work to catch up.

The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, which began last week with several Walmart locations in Wyoming, is expanding this week to include Walgreens in Casper, Riverton, Laramie, and Gillette and NorthStar Pharmacy in Cheyenne.

Important reminders about COVID-19 vaccines include:

  • The currently authorized vaccines require two doses for maximum protection.
  • The vaccines are free.
  • Insurance is not required to receive a vaccine.
  • Some people may be asked to show Medicare or insurance cards so professionals giving shots can get reimbursed.
  • For most people it is best to receive vaccines in the county where they live.

Wyoming’s phased approach is needed because there aren’t enough vaccines currently for everyone who wants them.

Priority groups are based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the WDH medical ethics committee.

Harrist said it remains important to continue wearing masks, to keep social distancing and to stay home when ill unless seeking medical help while vaccination efforts continue.

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