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Wyo Public Health Doc Says Children And Infants Should Get COVID Vax

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By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily

Coronavirus vaccinations are now being recommended for children as young as 6 months, per a weekend announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Wyoming Department of Health on Monday.

The recommendations follow Food and Drug Administration authorization of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for young children and infants.

“I encourage Wyoming parents to choose vaccination for their children,” Wyoming Public Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist said in a Monday press release. “We have certainly seen some children become very ill due to the virus and we also know they can spread COVID-19 to others who may be especially vulnerable to the virus and its effects.”

Harrist is encouraging all Wyoming residents 6 months and older to get the vaccine if they haven’t already.

Over the past few years, clinical trials have studied the effect coronavirus vaccines have on young children. Across the country, millions of older children and adults have been safely vaccinated, while globally, around 5 billion to 6 billion doses of the COVID vaccine have been disbursed, said Dr. Mark Dowell, Natrona County health officer.

Dowell said he has treated a number of patients with extended coronavirus symptoms, called “long COVID,” and added he would hate to see the same condition affect a young child. 

Dowell is supporting Harrist’s recommendation.

“I think it’s a great thing to do for the kids,” he said. “We’re still learning what COVID might do in the long-term for the kids.”

Harrist said children can receive other vaccines at the same time they receive their COVID-19 vaccine.

Prior to Saturday’s CDC recommendation, the vaccinations had been recommended only for children age 5 and older. The Moderna vaccine made for 6-month-olds to 5-year-olds is a two-dose series, given four weeks apart. The Pfizer vaccine for 6-month-olds to 4-year-olds is a three-dose series. The first two shots are given three weeks apart, and the third one eight weeks after the second shot. 

Parents of newly eligible children should contact their local public health office or other medical provider if they are interested in having their children vaccinated. The newly authorized vaccines for young children are in the process of being ordered, shipped and delivered to Wyoming locations.

When these vaccines will arrive throughout Wyoming is hard to tell.

In Uinta County, County Nurse Manager Callie Perkins said there will be some facilities in her county that were to have the vaccines available as early as Monday. In Sublette County, Nurse Manager Janna Lee said health officials do not have a clear idea when the vaccines will be delivered. Natrona County is not scheduled to receive the vaccines until the middle or end of the week.

Lee and Casper-Natrona County Health Department Spokesperson Hailey Bloom also said they have not received much public demand for vaccines for this new, younger age demographic.

“Anything recommended by the CDC and the Wyoming Department of Health, we’re going to follow with basically the same message, the exact same guidance,” Bloom said. 

According to the CDC, as of May 28, more than 400 children age 4 and younger have died due to COVID. Although young children have had some of the lowest susceptibility for hospitalization, Dowell said this shouldn’t encourage parents to let their guard down, as the more recent omicron strain of COVID has caused more hospitalizations in children. 

“As we move through this pandemic, including at this phase, staying up to date with vaccines remains the best way to reduce our vulnerability to this virus and its most serious effects,” Harrist said.

Dowell said people pointing to the fact Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the president, tested positive for COVID as proof the vaccine doesn’t work are misinformed and haven’t done proper research. 

Dowell said the purpose of the vaccines is not to prevent the patient from getting the virus but to minimize the harm the virus causes when it infects a person.

“It prevents you from dying,” he said.

There are a number of rare, but possible, side effects that can come from taking the vaccines including anaphylaxis, thrombosis, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, myocarditis, pericarditis and death.

Dowell, who has been vaccinated, said many of the risks one encounters from getting a COVID vaccine are the same as one would experience from getting shots for other viruses such as chicken pox and the flu.

“You have to look at the benefit vs. the risk,” he said. “The benefit is great.

In late May, the CDC also dropped the recommended age for booster shots to children 5 years and older, if eligible.

“Booster doses have become more important over time and are recommended for everyone ages 5 and older, with second booster doses recommended for everyone ages 50 and older,” Harrist said. “Those with certain health conditions that could affect their immunity should ask their healthcare provider whether they should receive additional or booster doses.”

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Wyo Health Officer Concerned But Not Surprised At COVID Increase; Monitoring Monkeypox

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s active COVID cases have started to creep up again and the state’s health officer is not too surprised at the uptick in numbers, she told Cowboy State Daily this week.

Dr. Alexia Harrist pointed out that Teton County had one of the two highest active case counts in the state as of Wednesday, even though it also has the highest ratio of vaccinated residents in the state. However, she also noted that Teton County is an active tourist location, meaning the virus is more likely to spread.

“Throughout the course of this pandemic, almost two and a half years now, we’ve seen periods of time with relatively low numbers of cases and then an increase,” Harrist said on Tuesday. “It was really just not surprising that after a relatively long period of time that now we’re seeing some increases.”

While Teton and Laramie counties have the highest number of active cases, 71 each, Harrist said it was possible that a lack of testing access could mean that there are more COVID cases in Wyoming, they just have not been reported.

In addition, the availability of free, at-home COVID tests could mean that people are finding out they have the virus and just taking steps on their own to isolate without reporting anything to their local health departments.

More than 90% of Teton County’s population is vaccinated against COVID, while just under 50% of Laramie County’s population is vaccinated. Around 46% of the entire state is vaccinated against the virus.

The vaccinations have made a difference in coronavirus spikes, Harrist said, because they prevented hospital visits and deaths from COVID.

“We know that vaccines do have effectiveness at preventing transmission and infection, but where they really shine and where they’re really effective is preventing severe illness and death,” Harrist said. “We saw that during the Omicron wave, where Teton County had a very high number of cases, but did not have the reported hospitalizations and deaths that we saw elsewhere. Teton County has the lowest death rate from COVID of any county in Wyoming.”

Harrist said Wyoming residents should take the increase in cases seriously, though, as now there is a higher risk of infection, particularly for people with underlying medical conditions who may not have received both the main doses of the vaccination and one to two boosters.

“More cases mean more people can be exposed and then more people can be infected,” she said. “The boosters, right now, are the best way to give your immunity that chance to be able to fight off the virus.”

Besides the increase in COVID cases, Harrist has also been on the watch for monkeypox, which has been slowly creeping into the United States over the last several weeks.

The illness generally causes a rash, fever and swollen lymph nodes and can lead to death in about 10% of the cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

There have been no confirmed cases in Wyoming, but Harrist said the department has notified all of the state’s health care providers on what symptoms to look for and how to collect samples, should the occasion arise.

The state’s public health laboratory is also ready to conduct monkeypox testing when needed, she said.

“Nationally, there have been more cases appearing, so there is some ongoing risk, particularly among people who might travel out of the country,” Harrist said.

Around 65 cases have been confirmed in the United States as of this week, according to Fox News. While many of the cases have been found among gay and bisexual men, anyone who has traveled out of the country, especially to certain countries in Africa.

“I can’t say whether or not the virus will end up in Wyoming, but as we continue to see cases rise nationally, it certainly is possible,” Harrist said.

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Now Grand Teton National Park Reinstates Federal Mask Mandate

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

After less than two months of mask use being optional, Grand Teton National Park officials have again implemented a mask mandate for all of the park’s indoor buildings after a significant increase in the number of active COVID cases in Jackson.

According to the most recent data from the Wyoming Department of Health, Teton County had the highest number of active cases in the state, despite it also having the highest COVID vaccination rate in the state, at around 95%.

For an undetermined amount of time, park visitors will have to wear masks inside of all park buildings, regardless of their vaccination status. These buildings include visitor centers, administrative offices, lodges, gift shops and restaurants within the park.

Park spokesman C.J. Adams told Cowboy State Daily that masks became optional in park buildings as of March 3.

Last week, the Teton County Health Department changed its coronavirus risk level to “high” after an increase in COVID cases and hospitalizations. As of June 8, the county averaged 24.1 cases over the previous seven days, for a total of 169 reported cases.

In the last two weeks, 19.3% of the COVID tests taken at sites throughout the county had a positive result.

Since June 1, St. John’s Health in Jackson has admitted six patients with COVID-related symptoms and transferred two of them to higher levels of care.

“We understand that moving up to the high level is frustrating at this point in the pandemic,” Teton County Health Officer Travis Riddell said last week. “We would all prefer to move past COVID-19 and not hear that our risk is increasing.”

Riddell encouraged everyone in the community to wear a mask in public indoor settings while the county remained in the high risk level.

“We know that all community members will assess their COVID-19 risk differently depending on their situation,” he said. “Though multiple treatments are available, preventative measures are still the best steps to protect ourselves and limit virus propagation in our community.” 

Riddell did not return Cowboy State Daily’s requests for comment on Monday.

Grand Teton was not the only national park in recent days to reinstate a mask mandate. Glacier National Park in Montana also implemented one late last week.

There has been no similar announcement at Yellowstone National Park, but Yellowstone was also closed Monday for at least two days due to flooding and rockslides in the area.

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Teton County Urges Indoor Mask Use While Glacier National Park Reinstates Mask Mandate

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Teton County’s public health officer on Friday urged county residents to wear facemasks while inside as the county moved to the Centers for Disease Control’s “High Community Level” for coronavirus infection.

“I want to encourage our community to wear a mask in public, indoor settings while we remain in the High Community Level,” Teton County District Health Officer Dr. Travis Riddell said on Friday afternoon.

“We understand that moving up to the High Community Level is frustrating at this point in the pandemic,” Riddel said. “We would all prefer to move past COVID-19 and not hear that our risk for COVID-19 is increasing.”

Noting that Teton County is one of the most vaccinated areas of the country with nearly 95% of the population vaccinated, Riddell said preventive measures such as wearing masks, “are still the best steps to protect ourselves and limit virus propagation.”

There have been 169 cases of coronavirus in Teton County in the last week and six patients have been hospitalized.

Meanwhile, 500 miles north at Glacier National Park, a mask mandate was reinstated on Thursday.

One of two counties adjacent to the park reported a High Community Level of COVID-19, much like Teton County.

The impact on visitors will be “fairly low,” a public information officer told Montana Public Radio.

“The mask wearing mandate applies to federal buildings,” Gina Kerzman said.  “So the employees who work inside of the federal buildings are mostly who this is affecting.”

She said rangers will avoid the mandate by moving park activities outdoors.

A tweet announcing the mandate further stated that the requirement was for everyone including those who have been vaccinated.

The announcement was immediately greeted with a great number of profanities and obscene gifs, although there was some support for the measure.

“It’s a small price to pay,” responded one commenter, to which he was immediately given an animated finger and a cartoon of the characters “Beavis and Butthead” pulling down their pants as if to moon the respondent.

There has been no word yet regarding similar requirements in other national parks such as Yellowstone or Grand Teton.

Calls to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks were not returned late Friday afternoon.

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Air Force Sergeants At F.E. Warren Sue Defense Department Over Vaccine Mandate

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Two members of the U.S. Air Force stationed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne are suing the U.S. Defense Department, challenging the constitutionality of its coronavirus vaccine mandate.

Nicholas Miller and Levi Lindskog, both technical sergeants, claim their rights to religious freedom have been violated by enforcement of the mandate and are asking the U.S. District Court in Cheyenne to stop its enforcement for all Air Force personnel who have asked for a religious exemption.

“(The Defense Department’s) actions, as described herein, including but not limited to, the hostility towards religious beliefs, as well as the creation of secular exemptions from its policies, while refusing to accommodate religious exemptions, constitute a violation of the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause,” said the lawsuit, which was filed Thursday.

The lawsuit stems from President Joe Biden’s executive order issued in September of 2021 ordering all federal employees to obtain the coronavirus vaccine. The Defense Department handed the order down to the armed forces.

According to the lawsuit, Miller and Lindskog both applied for a religious exemption from the requirement, two of more than 3,700 such requests filed by Air Force personnel.

“Astoundingly, the Air Force — at the direction of the (Defense Department) — has approved approximately 13,” the lawsuit said. “At the same time … the Air Force has approved thousands of administrative or medical exemptions to the same requirement.”

According to the lawsuit, Miller and Lindskog both asked for religious exemptions to the mandate because, according to their court filing, Johnson and Johnson used a “fetal cell line” to produce and manufacture its vaccine. 

According to a Michigan Department of Health statement filed with the lawsuit, the cells used were grown in a lab using the cells from “two elective pregnancy terminations that occurred in the 1970s and 1980s.”

The cells were not used in the production of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but the cells were used in the vary early testing of those vaccines, the statement said.

Both men believe abortion is murder, the lawsuit said, and believe that taking the vaccine would be a sin as a result.

Miller has received several letters of reprimand for his refusal to get the vaccine and now faces discharge from the Air Force after more than 17 years of service.

The lawsuit did not specify if any action has been taken against Lindskog, a 19-year member of the Air Force.

The two challenged the denial of their religious exemption requests and the lawsuit noted that many other members of the Air Force have been granted exemptions for other reasons.

“To be clear and without limitation, the Air Force has accommodated numerous airmen’s requests to be exempt from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for medical or administrative reasons, belying any claim that COVID-19 vaccination is a must for mission accomplishment,” the lawsuit said

The lawsuit accuses the Defense Department of violating the men’s constitutional rights to the free exercise of religion and the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” a 1993 law prohibiting the government from placing burdens on a person’s ability to practice their religion.

The lawsuit asks the court to issue an injunction barring enforcement of the vaccine mandate not only against Miller and Lindskog, but against “others similarly situated” while the court case is being argued.

It also asks the court to declare the Defense Department’s mandate unconstitutional and illegal.

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Wyo Health Experts Discount Claim That More Vaccines Could Have Saved 70% Of Covid Deaths

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

An analysis reporting that the deaths of nearly 940 Wyoming residents from COVID-19 could have been prevented if they had been vaccinated is being questioned by some state health experts.

On Friday, researchers at researchers at Brown School of Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health released an analysis that estimated the number of coronavirus deaths that could have been prevented in each state by vaccination since the COVID vaccine became available at the start of 2021.

According to the report, Wyoming could have experienced 938 fewer deaths — a reduction of almost 70% from the total of 1,376 deaths coronavirus-related deaths the report said the state saw between January of 2021 and April of this year.

The state Department of Health reported the number of deaths between January of 2021 and April at 1,222.

The report raises some quesitons, as there are several factors it does not take into consideration, according to Wyoming Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti and Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department director Kathy Emmons.

“There were more than 1,000 COVID-19 related deaths confirmed in 2021 and around 200 so far this year,” Deti said. “We absolutely believe than many of those deaths could have likely been prevented had more people in Wyoming made the choice to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but don’t have a specific estimate.”

Emmons agreed some deaths could have been prevented by the vaccine. But the issue with COVID, she said, is that it can set off other health issues.

“Say I have COPD and then I get COVID,” Emmons said. “The COVID exacerbates the COPD and I die, but my system is weakened due to both the COVID and the COPD.”

She added it is possible 938 people could have been saved if they had received the vaccine, it was still hard to confirm the figure, which assumes that everyone who could take the vaccine would get it.

Emmons added that no health official in the state expected Wyoming to be at a 100% vaccination rate, so another challenge with the analysis is that it is based on vaccination rates that state officials knew would never happen.

“There are all of these other conditions that come into place,” she said. “We are still, 100 years later, trying to figure out how many people died from the Spanish flu in 1917. I just don’t think we have the time behind us yet to know the actual numbers.”

The first COVID vaccine dose in Wyoming was administered in December 2020 and the vaccines became widely available in the state in March 2021.

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UW Professors, Student Lead Research On New COVID Rapid Test

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Two University of Wyoming professors and one doctoral candidate have spearheaded research into a new, more sensitive rapid COVID test.

Assistant chemical engineering Professor Karen Wawrousek and chemical engineering student Moein Mohammadi, joined by UW Chemical Engineering Department Director Patrick Johnson and researchers at the National University of Ireland in Galway, developed a more sensitive version of the rapid COVID tests used in homes.

The test developed by the researchers detects a spike protein in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID. The test allows for a more defined result in a COVID test compared to many rapid tests available on the market now, the researchers said.

“The commercial antigen test you can do at home catches a lot of the COVID cases, but not all of them,” Wawrousek said.

The team developed a process to analyze a substance to determine its composition or quality, also known as an assay, was to detect the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

For testing of the process, samples were placed in glass vials and inserted into hand-held instruments for analysis. This type of assay will allow for testing in rural and remote areas and on-site at airports, among other locations, Johnson said.

Johnson added one advantage of the new technology is that it can be used to detect other diseases simultaneously, not just COVID. He added he hopes the research team can expand the test to include a respiratory panel to detect not only COVID, but also various types of influenza and more.

Wawrousek and Mohammadi wrote a paper about the team’s development that has been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Now that the paper has been published, the team is back at work, attempting to improve on its research.

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No COVID Patients At Cheyenne Hospital, First Time In More Than A Year

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Cheyenne Regional Medical Hospital began the week with no COVID patients in its wards, something that has not been seen at the medical facility in more than a year.

Officials at the hospital, one of the state’s largest, announced Monday that there were no COVID-related hospitalizations at the facility. According to Wyoming Department of Health figures, this is the first time in more than a year the hospital has had absolutely no COVID patients.

Hospital spokeswoman Kathy Baker told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that it was nice to have reached the milestone, but added it is important to remember those who have died from the virus and their grieving family members.

“We also don’t want to forget about those who have come down with COVID-19 over the past two years and who are still suffering the after-effects,” Baker said.

“And while it’s good to be able to celebrate the milestone that we reached on Monday, we know that COVID-19 is not gone and that there are things people can do to help lessen the severity of the disease and to decrease hospitalizations and deaths if they are exposed to the virus. That is to get fully vaccinated and boosted if they are eligible,” she said.



The peak of COVID for the hospital occurred in September, when 60 patients were receiving treatment. CRMC and Casper’s Wyoming Medical Center have shared the distinction of having largest number of COVID patients since the pandemic started two years ago.

Although Wyoming is seeing low COVID numbers, other areas in the nation have not been so lucky. This week, Philadelphia implemented a new mask mandate after cases spiked by 50%. It is the first major city to reinstate mask requirements.

China is currently dealing with its biggest COVID outbreak in two years. The U.S. has ordered some of its consulate staff to leave the country due to the increase in COVID cases.

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Wyo Health Officer Cautious On Second Covid Booster; “It’s A Personal Decision”

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s public health officer is softening her stance on the value of the latest COVID-19 booster shots, urging residents to speak with their doctors before getting a second booster as recommended by federal health officials.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the second COVID booster for people 50 years and older and those with compromised immune systems.

Around 45% of the state is currently fully vaccinated against COVID, almost 264,000 residents. However, there have only been 112,324 booster doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine boosters given and health care providers have said that this third booster significantly decreases the chances of getting COVID or getting very sick from the virus if a person does catch it.

Since the vaccines were made available to the public last year, Dr. Alexia Harrist and the Health Department have strongly recommended Wyoming residents get vaccinated against COVID.

However, with the latest booster recommendation, Harrist is urging those eligible for the shot to discuss the issue with a doctor before getting one.

“Our recommendation is that if a person fits into these categories, they should talk with their health care provider about whether this second booster may make sense for them,” Harrist said. “We strongly recommend people get their first booster, but the second is more of an individual’s decision.”

While there is discussion about the second booster being available for everyone in the future, Harrist said there is not enough data to support that recommendation at this time.

When the first booster shots were made available, Harrist said data reviewed by the Wyoming Department of Health indicates the booster shots make the vaccines more effective at preventing severe illness from coronavirus.

As of Tuesday, Wyoming had 60 active COVID cases across the state.

Wyoming has been one of the lowest vaccinated states in the nation when it comes to COVID, something Harrist and the health department have been working to combat.

Those interested in obtaining the second booster should have no problem finding the vaccine, Harrist said.

“It should already be available in Wyoming,” she said. “Any location that has a supply of Pfizer or Moderna should be able to give the second booster as of now.”

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Eight More Covid-Related Deaths in Wyoming

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The number of Wyoming residents whose deaths have been tied to the coronavirus since it was first detected in Wyoming has climbed to 1,791.

The Wyoming Department of Health announced Tuesday that eight more deaths which occurred in February and March had been tied to the illness.

The most recent victims include three Fremont County women and two Campbell County women.

Others whose deaths have been tied to the illness are a Goshen County man, a Laramie County man and a Natrona County man.

The announcement was made Tuesday as department figures showed the number of active coronavirus cases in the state had fallen to 60.

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40 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Tuesday; 101 Recoveries; 60 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case count decreased by 43 on Tuesday from Friday. 

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 101 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases from Saturday through Tuesday.

At the same time, the state reported 40 new laboratory-confirmed and 16 new probable cases, leaving the state with 60 active cases.

Laramie County had 17; Natrona seven; Albany and Teton six; Sweetwater five; Weston four; Uinta three; Fremont, Lincoln and Sheridan two; Campbell, Carbon, Crook, Goshen, Niobrara, and Platte had one, while Big Horn, Converse, Hot Springs, Johnson, Park, Sublette and Washakie, all reported no active cases.  

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 156,112 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 154,262 have recovered.

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56 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Friday; 32 Recoveries; 113 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total increased by 36 to end the week.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 32 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases between Tuesday and Friday. 

At the same time, the state reported 56 new laboratory-confirmed and 12 new probable cases for an active case total of 113 on Friday.

Laramie County had 28 cases, Teton 16; Albany 12; Sweetwater 11; Natrona 10; Campbell nine; Washakie seven; Fremont six; Goshen four; Sheridan three; Park and Weston two; Platte, Sublette and Uinta one, and Big Horn, Carbon, Converse, Crook, Hot Springs, Johnson, Lincoln and Niobrara all reported zero active cases.  

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 156,056 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 154,161 have recovered.

Poop Surveillance Declines In Wyoming, Rising Use In Other Parts Of the Country

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming was among the first states to participate efforts to test wastewater to determine trends in COVID-19 infections.

And now other areas of the country are turning to the technology to track the illness, although Wyoming’s state-sponsored testing has ended.

Cody was the first community in the state, back in April of 2020, to begin sending samples of the city’s sewer water to a private lab in Massachusetts. BioBot Laboratories analyzed the samples, determining the percentage of the population that was infected with the coronavirus.

The Health Department later launched its own program, testing samples from communities around the state.

“Probably within six months … the … Wyoming Department of Health started a testing program as well,” said Phillip Bowman, Cody’s Public Works director. “They did that testing free of charge, using funding that the Department of Health received to start a program and equip their own laboratory. So we started sending our samples to them, and they were tracking that at a state level with I believe maybe 15 or more communities.”

“We had a robust wastewater monitoring system in place for COVID-19,” said Kim Deti, spokesperson for the Wyoming Department of Health. “As part of that system, we provided training and paid operators for sample collection.”

Bowman told Cowboy State Daily that the Department of Health would update its website with data from the lab analysis, which provided local officials with information they could use to make decisions to best protect their citizens.

The process worked well, according to Brandon Price, manager for Gillette’s wastewater treatment facility.

“People did appreciate seeing those numbers to assist in tracking,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “The administration, as well as us here in the wastewater department, were also tracking those numbers using that website.”

However, the funding for the wastewater collection program ended in December.

“The CARES Act funding we were using for the effort did end,” Deti said. “There has not been a firm decision on future wastewater monitoring options.”

While the statewide program has ended in Wyoming, the use of wastewater monitoring is now getting noticed in more urban areas. 

The Wall Street Journal this week reported on the wastewater monitoring operation in Boston, Massachusetts, which has revealed a decline in the presence of the coronavirus in some parts of the metropolitan area and growth in others. 

The article pointed to wastewater testing as a “growing effort” to monitor the virus across the country, citing a rising use of the technique in more populated areas.

But with COVID-related hospitalizations on the decline in Wyoming, Deti said the Department of Health has made no decisions regarding the future of the monitoring program.

“At this point we aren’t certain about pursuing potentially available funding for future wastewater monitoring,” she said. “Any consideration of our options would weigh costs and staff resources as related to the potential benefits of wastewater monitoring in Wyoming. We have not made a permanent decision on this for the future.”

However, Cody’s investment in monitoring equipment two years ago was made with a longer-term purpose in mind, according to Bowman.

The equipment is now being used to help the city make wastewater treatment decisions, he said.

“We definitely purchased it with the intent of keeping it afterwards and having it available for other sampling throughout our wastewater system,” he said. “For our case, at the City of Cody, our sampling device allows us to utilize it after the pandemic need was diminished, and so with the aid of the state’s program, we’ve continued to use that on our wastewater sampling for wastewater treatment purposes.”

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14 More Covid-Related Deaths in Wyoming

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The number of Wyoming deaths linked to the coronavirus since it was first detected in Wyoming has increased to 1,783, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.

The department announced Tuesday that the deaths of 14 more Wyoming residents in February and March have been tied to the illness.

The deaths include three Laramie County men and three Natrona County residents, two women and one man.

A Park County man and woman were also among the deaths, as were a Sheridan County man and woman.

Other victims included a Campbell County woman, a Converse County man, a Lincoln County man and a Sweetwater County man.

The announcement came on the same day Department of Health figures showed the number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming had fallen by 23 to total 77.

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53 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Friday; 48 Recoveries; 254 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total increased by nine on Friday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 48 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 53 new laboratory-confirmed and five new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 254 active cases for Friday. 

Laramie had 41 cases, Natrona 31; Teton 29; Fremont 23; Campbell and Goshen 20; Weston 18; Sweetwater 16; Albany 11; Carbon and Sheridan seven; Platte and Uinta five; Big Horn and Park four; Lincoln, Niobrara and Washakie three; Converse two; Crook and Sublette had one each, while Hot Springs and Johnson reported zero active cases.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 155,744 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 153,740 have recovered.

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65 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Thursday; 62 Recoveries, 245 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by five on Thursday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 62 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 65 new laboratory-confirmed cases. The number of probable cases declined by eight, the result one of the department’s periodic review of its case numbers. As a result, the state was left with 245 active cases for Thursday. 

Laramie County had 35 cases, Natrona 228; Fremont 25; Teton 21; Weston 19; Sweetwater 18; Goshen 15; Campbell 13; Albany 11; Carbon ten; Platte and Sheridan seven; Big Horn six; Lincoln and Niobrara four; Converse and Uinta three; Hot Springs and Washakie had two, while Crook, Johnson and Sublette reported one.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 155,689 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 153,692 have recovered.

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71 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Wednesday; 59 Recoveries; 250 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus increased by 12 on Wednesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 59 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 71 new laboratory-confirmed cases and no change in probable cases, leaving hte state with 250 active cases on Wednesday.

Laramie County had 38 cases, Fremont and Natrona 29; Weston 19; Sweetwater and Teton 18; Campbell and Goshen 16; Platte nine; Carbon and Park eight; Albany, Big Horn and Sheridan six; Uinta five; Lincoln and Niobrara four; Washakie three; Converse, Hot Springs and Sublette had two, while Crook and Johnson reported one. No county reported zero active cases. 

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 155,629 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 153,630 have recovered.

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Wyoming Dept of Health Says Alternatives To COVID Pills Are Available

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming may be toward the bottom of the priority list to receive the antiviral pills developed to treat the coronavirus, but a number of other treatment options exist, according to a spokeswoman for the Wyoming Department of Health.

“There are multiple types of COVID-19 therapeutics currently available in Wyoming,” Kim Deti, public information official for the Wyoming Department of Health, told Cowboy State Daily.

Those options include two types of monoclonal antibodies that are given by intravenous infusion, as well as the antiviral medication Remdesivir, which is also administered via IV infusion.

Although the oral medications that have been developed specifically for COVID-19 aren’t currently available in much of Wyoming, Deti said there are other medications available for the treatment of hospitalized COVID patients. 

“These are not in scarce supply and are procured by hospitals the same way as any other medication,” she said.

Deti said as supplies increase, the oral medications will become available at more locations across Wyoming, including at commercial pharmacies.

She noted that one of the priorities for the department is to encourage people to get tested if they have symptoms, as there are medications available that may help reduce the severity of the infection.

“Because supplies of most of these medications are still limited, and some require intravenous infusion, they are primarily being distributed to hospitals around the state,” Deti said, adding that these medications have thus far only been made available to individuals who are at risk of developing severe illness because of underlying medical conditions.

“During the high transmission levels Wyoming experienced with Omicron, we did not have enough supply for all patients who would benefit from these medications, and we asked providers to prioritize the use of these medications for those at highest risk,” Deti said. “Now that we are seeing fewer cases, a higher percentage of the individuals diagnosed with COVID will be able to access these medications.”

The department again urged Wyoming residents to exercise caution because the coronavirus is still active.

“The pandemic is not yet over,” cautioned Deti. “We’re in a new phase, but COVID 19 is not gone. We want to help people avoid serious illness when possible.”

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Covid Pills Not Yet Available in Wyoming; Health Officials Still Urging Caution About Virus

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

Although coronavirus cases in Wyoming are dropping rapidly, the illness still poses a threat, according to a public health official, and the latest treatment options have yet to reach the state.

Bill Crampton, Park County’s public health nursing supervisor, said people in the state need to continue guarding against the illness.

“I know the community is fairly exhausted from this process, but I think we’re going to have to guard up for a while longer,” he said. “I think we’ve all come to grips with the idea that it’s going to be a part of our lives.”

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Wyoming stood at less than 400 on Monday, compared to more than 8,000 in January.

The number of patients hospitalized for coronavirus treatment has also dropped, as has the number of deaths linked to the virus. 

New treatments, as well as the widespread availability of vaccines, have allowed officials across the country to drop mask mandates and other restrictions that have been in place for more than two years.

Although the coronavirus is no longer considered a pandemic, when rapidly rising case numbers cross national boundaries, it is still an endemic, Crampton said, one that is regularly found in populations.

However, Crampton said fewer people are signing up to receive vaccines, or boosters, despite continued public health recommendations.

“There are more people right now in Park County not showing up for appointments than do show up for appointments,” he said, explaining that many residents are making appointments to get the shot, but then fail to appear at their scheduled time.

With the release of new treatments for COVID, most notably the new pills created by both Pfizer and Merck, health officials have more options to treat the virus – but Crampton said the new treatments won’t be available in Wyoming for some time yet.

“I spoke with the pharmacist at Walmart yesterday, they are biggest supplier of anti-virals here in the community,” Crampton said. “According to them, they are still some time out, and Walmart is the only place that’s going to carry Paxlovid (Pfizer’s version of the drug) for treatment after you’ve been infected with COVID-19.”

Although President Biden promoted the new COVID pills during his State of the Union address last week, that particular treatment is difficult to manufacture, and the drugs are being parceled out on a per-capita basis. 

Wyoming is only expected to receive 100 courses of the pill to begin with.

The Biden Administration’s plan is to make Pfizer’s antiviral pill widely available, as it is shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization from COVID by about 90%.

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48 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Tuesday; 186 Recoveries; 238 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case count decreased by 128 on Tuesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 186 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 48 new laboratory-confirmed and 18 new probable cases, leaving the state with 238 active cases for Tuesday.

Laramie County had 49 cases, Fremont 27; Natrona 25; Teton 17; Campbell 15; Sweetwater 14; Carbon 12; Platte ten; Park nine; Albany, Goshen, Sheridan, Uinta seven; Big Horn, Converse, Hot Springs, Sublette and Washakie four; Johnson and Lincoln had three, while Crook, Niobrara and Weston reported two.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 155,558 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 153,571 have recovered.  

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Eight More COVID-Related Deaths in Wyoming

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The number of Wyoming residents whose deaths have been tied to the coronavirus has grown to 1,749, the Wyoming Department of Health announced Tuesday.

The department announced the deaths of eight more residents, all of which occurred in February, were linked to the illness.

The victims included two Fremont County residents, a man and a woman, two Crook County men, two Natrona County men, a Laramie County woman and a Campbell County man.

The announcement came the same day Health Department figures showed the number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming had fallen to 238.

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69 New Coronavirus Cases On Friday; 42 Recoveries; 361 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total increased by 35 on Friday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 42 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 69 new laboratory-confirmed and eight new probable cases for a total of 361 active cases on Friday.

Laramie had 69 cases, Fremont 43; Natrona 40; Teton 24; Albany 21; Sweetwater 19; Weston 18; Campbell and Goshen and Sheridan 15; Carbon 14; Platte nine; Park and Washakie eight; Big Horn and Lincoln six; Hot Springs and Sublette five; Johnson, Niobrara and Uinta four; Crook had three, while Converse reported two.Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 155,246 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 153,324 have recovered.

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57 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Thursday; 86 Recoveries; 326 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by 14 on Thursday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 86 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 57 new laboratory-confirmed and 15 new probable cases to leave Wyoming with 326 active cases.

Laramie County had 69 cases, Fremont and Natrona 33; Albany 25; Teton 19; Sweetwater and Weston 18; Campbell 15; Carbon, Goshen and Sheridan 14; Platte and Washakie seven; Park six, Bog Horn, Hot Springs, Lincoln Sublette and Uinta five; Niobrara four; Crook three; Johnson had two, while Converse reported zero active cases. 

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 155,349 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 153,282 have recovered.

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Wyoming Mask Mandate Lawsuit Dismissed

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A federal judge this week dismissed a lawsuit against the state of Wyoming and several school districts over mandates issued during the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Freudenthal said in her order to dismiss the lawsuit that the plaintiffs in the case, including the parents of several Wyoming students, failed to respond in time to seven motions filed by defendants in the case seeking to dismiss the lawsuit.

“This is the second time that plaintiffs have failed to timely respond to several motions to dismiss, despite this court’s orders reminding them of the briefing deadlines…and warning that the court would consider future motions deemed confessed for lack of timely response, their culpability would seem high,” Freudenthal wrote in her ruling.

The lawsuit at one point included as plaintiffs Grace Smith, the teenager arrested at Laramie High School last fall for trespassing after refusing to wear a mask, and her father. But they were no longer involved with the lawsuit as of January.

The initial lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Nov. 2 alleged that rules adopted by some school districts requiring students to wear masks while in class, observe social distancing and to quarantine when exposed to coronavirus have been improperly adopted.

The lawsuit asked the court to find there was never an imminent threat to Wyoming’s residents from coronavirus, that Gov. Mark Gordon’s initial emergency declaration was unconstitutional, that school districts have no authority to impose such mandates and asks that all such orders should be lifted immediately.

The lawsuit was amended in January, after a December filing by Freudenthal called the original complaint filed on behalf of Grace Smith and others a “confused jumble of factual assertions…extensive citations to articles and other materials of nonparties…and legal arguments.”

Several plaintiffs and defendants have come and gone from the lawsuit in recent months.

Albany County School District No. 1, Sheridan County School District No. 2, Laramie County School District No. 1, Uinta County School District No. 6, Sweetwater County School District No. 2, Goshen County School District No. 1, the Sheridan Police Department, Wyoming Public Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist and Wyoming Department of Health interim Director Stefan Johansson were all dismissed from the lawsuit between December and January.

Gov. Mark Gordon, who was once involved in the lawsuit, announced Monday that he has begun the process to end Wyoming’s COVID-19 public health emergency declaration, two years after it was put in place.

The declaration will end March 14, two years after COVID was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

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83 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Wednesday; 67 Recoveries; 340 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total increased by 26 on Wednesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 67 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases Wednesday. 

At the same time, the state reported 83 new laboratory-confirmed and 10 new probable cases, leaving it with 340 active cases for Wednesday

Laramie County had 62 cases, Fremont and Natrona 33; Sweetwater 25; Goshen and Teton 21; Albany and Campbell 20; Weston 18; Carbon 15; Sheridan 13; Park and Platte eight; Uinta and Washakie seven; Lincoln six; Sublette five; Crook, Hot Springs and Niobrara four; Big Horn and Johnson had three, while Converse reported one.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 155,277 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 153,196 have recovered.

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Wyoming Department of Health Announces 23 More Covid-Related Deaths

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The number of Wyoming residents whose deaths have been linked to coronavirus since the illness was first detected in the state has increased by 1,741, the Wyoming Department of Health announced Tuesday.

The department announced it had tied the deaths of 23 people in January and February to the illness.

The deaths included five Laramie County women and five Fremont County residents, three men and two women.

Other deaths included three Park County residents, two women and one man, two Goshen County women and a Natrona County man and woman.

Also included in the fatalities were a Campbell County man, a Carbon County man, a Crook County woman, a Johnson County woman, a Lincoln County woman and a Uinta County man.

The announcement came the same day as department figures showed the number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming fell to 314, a decline of 251 from Monday.

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56 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Tuesday; 311 Recoveries; 314 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by 251 on Tuesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 311 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases Tuesday. 

At the same time, the state reported 56 new laboratory-confirmed and 27 new probable cases on Tuesday, bringing the state’s active case total to 314.

Laramie had 62 cases, Fremont 36; Natrona 34; Teton 25; Sweetwater 20; Campbell 19; Albany 18; Sheridan 16; Goshen 15; Carbon 14; Platte nine; Uinta eight; Hot Springs and Sublette six; Lincoln five; Big Horn and Crook four; Park, Washakie and Weston three; Niobrara had two, while Converse and Johnson reported one.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 155,184 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 153,129 have recovered.

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Gordon To End Wyoming’s COVID Emergency Declaration In March

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Gov. Mark Gordon announced Monday that he has begun the process to end Wyoming’s COVID-19 public health emergency declaration, two years after it was put in place.

The declaration will end March 14, two years after COVID was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

“As we see our case numbers and hospitalizations receding, it is time to begin the shift to a new phase. This virus will be with us for the foreseeable future and we should manage it appropriately,” Gordon said. “That means being personally responsible for one’s own health and respectful of your family and neighbors. Use the tools we now have available and stay home when you’re sick.”

As Monday, Wyoming had 565 active COVID cases.

Gordon has been coordinating with impacted executive branch agencies and licensing boards to ensure they are prepared to make adjustments where necessary.

Gordon declared an emergency for the state on March 13, 2020, shortly after then-President Donald Trump declared a nationwide emergency.

The declaration allowed the state to be better prepared to activate its National Guard, if necessary, and allowed businesses to take advantage of emergency COVID relief programs.

It also cleared the way for Gordon in December 2020 to issue a statewide mandate the use of facemasks. The order was lifted in March 2021.

Going forward, the Wyoming Department of Health will continue to serve as a resource for COVID information and support, Gordon said.

Most Wyomingites will not be affected by the end of the declaration, Gordon said. The limited scope of impacts include the expiration of the federally-funded SNAP emergency allotment, which will take effect May 1, and the elimination of emergency rule changes to licensure requirements for the Board of Medicine and the Board of Nursing.

“I extend my appreciation to our medical community, first responders, public health officials and National Guard volunteers statewide who have shown their commitment to the people of Wyoming throughout this pandemic,” the Governor said. “As we wind down from the emergency, the public can expect to see some changes in how information is relayed.”

Gordon, the Department of Health, a number of school districts and several other defendants are in the midst of a lawsuit brought forth by a slew of plaintiffs over school mask mandates and Gordon’s emergency health order.

The lawsuit asks the court to find there was never an imminent threat to Wyoming’s residents from coronavirus, that Gordon’s initial emergency declaration was unconstitutional, that school districts have no authority to impose such mandates and that all such orders should be lifted immediately.

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Gillette Prepares For Arrival of National “People’s Convoy”

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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

Four women in Gillette who are fed up with what they see as government overreach and direct assaults on freedom are taking part in the “People’s Convoy,” a group of trucks traveling through Gillette on Thursday on the way to Washington, D.C.

Priscilla Hixson, Kelley Boltin, Patty Junek and Suzie Curtin got together Saturday to make posters encouraging participants in the convoy, a self-described grassroots campaign involving truckers and people of all professions traveling to Washington to seek an end to mandates issued in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The convoy’s organizers plan to converge on Washington from different parts of the country on March 1 for President Joe Biden’s “State of the Union” address.

According to Hixson, it was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to invoke martial law in Canada two weeks ago to shut down the “Freedom Convoy” in that country that prompted her to support the similar convoy that has surfaced in the U.S. within the last two weeks.



The women met for the second Saturday in a row to make the signs to show support for the leg of the convoy participants traveling on various routes from all regions of the country. In addition to the convoy stopping at the Cam-plex and CBH Co-op in Gillette, another group will stop at Little America in Cheyenne.

The signs made from poster boards adorned with large letters express pro-trucker sentiments and a rallying call for freedom and First Amendment rights. The women plan to hang the signs from the overpass along 1-90 though Gillette, Boltin said.

“It’s about our freedoms,” she said. “These mandates have been so unconstitutional, and people are standing up and saying enough is enough.”

Junek, whose poster read “God [Hearts]Truckers,” expressed her support for the men and women who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep supplies running across the country, as well as the importance of standing up for freedom.

The four women are not the only Wyoming residents showing support for the convoy.

Casper resident Laura Redmond is organizing groups throughout the state to deliver handmade baked goods and homemade cards to the truckers on her “Freedom Convoy – Wyoming” Facebook page, which also includes information about specific times, dates and locations that the convoy will be stopping in the state. 



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158 New COVID Cases In Wyoming On Monday; 125 Recoveries; 565 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total increased by 67 over the weekend.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports from Saturday through Monday of 125 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 158 new laboratory-confirmed cases and 34 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 565 active cases Monday.

Laramie County had 121 cases, Natrona 74; Fremont 64; Sweetwater 41; Campbell 40; Albany 33; Goshen and Sheridan 27; Carbon 25; Teton 24; Washakie 13; Lincoln 12; Platte 11; Weston ten; Park nine; Hot Springs and Niobrara six; Sublette and Uinta five; Big Horn, Crook and Johnson had four, while Converse reported zero active cases. 

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 155,101 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 152,818 have recovered.

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91 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Friday; 94 Recoveries; 498 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total increased by 18 on Friday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 94 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 91 new laboratory-confirmed and 21 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 498 active cases on Friday

Laramie County had 98 cases, Natrona 66; Fremont 50; Campbell 40; Sweetwater 36; Teton 35; Albany 26; Sheridan 25; Carbon and Washakie 18; Goshen 14; Park 12; Lincoln 11; Uinta ten; Platte nine; Big Horn seven; Hot Springs and Niobrara five; Johnson and Weston four; Sublette had three, while Converse and Crook reported one.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 154,909 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 152,693 have recovered.

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Wyo Health Officials Don’t Know When COVID Will Stop Being Public Health Issue

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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

The number of active coronavirus cases continues to fall in Wyoming, with none of the state’s counties having more than 100 cases and several having active case counts in the single digits.

These figures mark a significant downward trend from the past several months, when the Omicron variant was blamed for pushing the number of active cases in the state to more than 8,000.

As of Thursday, Converse County had the fewest active cases at two, followed by Crook, Hot Springs, Sublette and Weston counties with three each. The highest number of active cases – 91 – was reported in Laramie County.

Hospitalizations affiliated with the COVID-19 virus likewised continue on a downward trend with 62 hospitalizations reported on Thursday compared to 167 at the first of the month.

Wyoming Department of Health officials said they are pleased to see fewer cases and hospitalizations compared to recent weeks, but stopped short of saying when  COVID-19 might no longer be a public health issue.

“At this point, we don’t know for sure what the future will bring related to COVID-19.” Kim Deti, public spokesperson for WDH, said. “However, it is clear at this time that people can still get very sick from COVID-19 and we continue to recommend vaccination and booster doses for everyone.” 

It’s unclear how accurate the active case numbers are throughout the state given that some people are utilizing the free, at-home COVID-19 test kits. There is no system for reporting positive test outcomes to the Department of Health.

“There is not a consistent or reliable way for that information to be collected at this point,” Deti said. “However, that is outweighed by the benefits of individuals being able to test themselves at home.”

Those patients who do test positive are encouraged to follow the same recommendations as those tested by a healthcare professional, Deti added, including staying home and keeping away from other people, especially individuals who may be at higher risk for severe illness. 

So far this season, influenza activity also appears to be going down, Deti said, though those numbers are not reported as accurately as COVID cases. 

Deti noted flu season officially runs from October through May, so those numbers may not remain low for the rest of the year. 

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127 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Thursday; 141 Recoveries; 480 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by six on Thursday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 141 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases Thursday. 

At the same time, the state reported 127 new laboratory-confirmed and eight new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 480 active cases on Thursday.

Laramie County had 91 cases, Natrona 63; Fremont 47; Teton 42; Campbell 41; Sweetwater Carbon 21; Albany 20; Washakie 17; Sheridan Lincoln 14; Park 13; Platte ten; Goshen nine; Uinta eight; Big Horn seven; Niobrara five; Johnson four; Crook Hot Springs, Sublette and Weston had three, while Converse reported two.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 154,797 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 152,599 have recovered.

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86 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Wednesday, 166 Recoveries; 486 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus decreased by 53 on Wednesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 166 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 86 new laboratory-confirmed and 27 new probable cases, leaving the state with 486 active cases.

Laramie County had 89 cases, Natrona 68; Sweetwater 49; Fremont 48; Campbell and Teton 41; Washakie 25; Carbon 18; Albany 16; Sheridan 15; Lincoln 13; Park and Platte nine; Goshen eight; Sublette and Uinta seven; Big Horn six; Converse four; Hot Springs, Johnson and Weston had three, while Converse and Niobrara reported two.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 154,662 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 152,458 have recovered.

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National Podcast Yanked From YouTube After Interviewing Wyoming Doctor About COVID Treatments

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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

A national podcast was yanked from YouTube after airing an interview with a Wheatland doctor who was fired after prescribing coronavirus treatments against the recommendations of the hospital he worked for.

The incident involving Dr. Willard Woods and his interview on the podcast “Tales from the Crypt” has sparked discussions about what constitutes medical misinformation and censorship.

 “It’s Orwellian,” podcast host Marty Bent told Cowboy State Daily on Monday. “When you think of the number of people who could have been prevented from dying if they would have been allowed to take the medication.”

Bent said he was told by YouTube that his interview with Dr. Woods violated the company’s medical misinformation policy because it contained “claims about COVID-19 vaccinations that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities of the World Health Organization (WHO). 

During the podcast, Dr. Woods — who declined to be interviewed by Cowboy State Daily — told Bent of prescribing hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin and other medications not specifically recommended for treatment of coronavirus.

Dr. Woods described how he was fired by Platte County Memorial Hospital, owned by Banner Health, after three warnings to stop administering those medications, a practice the company called “risky.”

The doctor also questioned the safety of giving vaccines and boosters to those with strong natural immunity from the virus, saying he’s seen patients who have gotten “terribly sick” after getting the shot.

After the interview aired, Bent said YouTube pulled the podcast within 12 hours. He was also told that the interview marked the second time his podcast had violated YouTube rules and if it happened another time, it would be removed permanently.

Bent has since posted the interview on Rumble. 

The banning of the video as well as the firing of Dr. Woods represents what Bent said he sees as increasing encroachments on American freedoms and alternative points of view, which in this case, he argued has cost lives.

Bent found out about Dr. Woods’ firing from one of his Wyoming friends in the cryptocurrency business. The friend had been one of Dr. Woods’ patients.

Bent reached reached out to the Dr. Woods to be interviewed on his podcast.

Bent said he was struck by what he saw as great courage and conviction on the part of the 75-year-old Wheatland OB-GYN who had been fired for continuing to prescribe medications the clinic did not recognize as safe for patients. 

“You are toward the end of your career and it seems like you got screwed over pretty bad for trying to do what you thought was best for your patients in terms of treating them with the medicines that are not supposed to be named, like ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine and some other remedies that aren’t a jab in the arm,” Bent told Dr. Woods at the start of the podcast. 

Bent described Dr. Woods as a “true warrior” dedicated to helping others in his community.

“There needs to be more men like you in today’s society,” he told Dr. Woods.

Small-Town Doctor

As the sole certified obstetrician in Wheatland, Dr. Woods has delivered the lion’s share of babies in the county. His house was 67 steps away from the hospital, where he estimated he had delivered around 3,500 babies during his 43-year career. He also took care of general surgeries.

Living in a small town afforded him the luxury of getting to know his patients, he told Bent. He ran into them at rodeos, ranch sales, and the grocery store, and sometimes, he even took the liberty of crumpling a guy’s pack of cigarettes and throwing them in the trash because he could see the adverse effects they were already having on the person.

“You can pick certain people to do that on, but you can’t do that on everyone,” Dr. Woods said.

Despite the manner in which his career ended, Dr. Woods told Bent he wouldn’t change anything for the world. 

He’s loved every bit of his career and his life in Wheatland. Even as a young man he wanted to be a doctor and dreamed of living in a small town since his early days of living in Oklahoma City where he also went to medical school. 

“You’re not just their doctor, you’re also their friend,” he said. “It’s a great feeling to get to watch these babies you deliver grow up and then deliver their babies for them. It’s a unique experience, and I just wouldn’t have changed anything.”

Since being fired from his position, he’s received an outpouring of support from both the community and his former patients, including hundreds of cards and phone calls.

“It was very gratifying to see that people were so gracious, but it also made me feel somewhat guilty that I’m not going to be there for them as much as I would like to be,” he said.

He hasn’t been hurt by this, Dr. Woods said, but his patients have and that’s what hurts him the most. 

Navigating The Unknowns 

When the pandemic first broke out, Dr. Woods – like physicians all over the world and country – scrambled to study everything he could about the disease and potential treatments.

As he searched, it became clear that Google was not the place to find medical information about COVID treatment. His wife suggested he use the search engine DuckDuckGo, where he found much more information.

Armed with the medical studies found on DuckDuckGo and elsewhere, Dr. Woods came to understand why some doctors were treating the coronavirus with anti-viral and anti-parasitic drugs.

Initial studies from France and other countries showed those medications to be quite promising for treating COVID-19.

Just when Dr. Woods was starting to feel confident about the studies he was reading about hydroxychloroquine, a common and generic drug used to treat malaria and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, a new study by Surgisphere appeared in the journals “Lancet” and the “New England Journal of Medicine” stating the drug had actually led to the deaths of nearly 30% to 45% of COVID patients in 671 hospitals worldwide.

“My God, my whole world was blown out from under me because I was thinking here we’ve got a good treatment,” Dr. Woods said. “Thank God, they discovered it was fake, and the people involved in the study were actually a pornographer and science fiction writer.”

Nonetheless, the faux study halted 40 studies on hydroxychloroquine worldwide. Within the two weeks, Dr. Woods said, the study was discounted, and researchers discovered the data had been made up. 

A subsequent study by the Henry Ford Foundation showed the triple therapies of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc were effective in easing COVID’s symptoms, prompting Dr.  Woods to take another look. 

First Patient

Platte County was the last county in the state to get its first case, Dr. Woods said, and when the illness finally did surface in June of 2020, the patient was Dr. Woods’ daughter. There were no monoclonal antibodies available at that point, but when she recovered, her immunity was so high that she donated plasma to be used for convalescent treatment and the development of the monoclonal antibodies.

The Platte County Memorial Hospital was later allotted a limited number of monoclonal doses, so Dr. Woods turned to other medications, in addition to the monoclonal antibodies, to stretch the available supply.

He also took hydroxychloroquine himself as a preventive measure once a week, along with vitamins and zinc, and avoided catching COVID. At first, he wasn’t allowed to see patients at all due to his age and risk factors. Later, he could see patients if he signed a release and wore a hazmat suit.

Later, when data showed ivermectin was a more effective treatment alternative, Dr. Woods started taking that as well, he told Bent.

He stressed the ivermectin in question is not the same drug given to animals, which he would not recommend a human take.

Dr. Woods cited a long list of studies in the podcast backing the alternative medications as safe, including a study in India involving 350,000 health care workers who took hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure with good results. 

Dr. Woods pointed to the disparity in the number of COVID-related deaths in India and the U.S., with India having significantly lower deaths, which he attributed to that country’s use of antiviral and anti-parasitic drugs both as preventive measures and as remedies administered in the early stages of the virus.

“If these drugs just lowered the death rate by 10%, and they hardly cost anything…and they’re safe and you’re only taking them for a few days, why in the world would you not do that?” Dr. Woods asked.

Other studies looked at how effective the medication was after a patient was already on a ventilator, skewing the results, Dr. Woods said.

He cited more than 40 other studies that showed the drugs had favorable results within the proper dosages.

Dr. Woods also explained that the drugs worked against the virus and added it is important that the disease be treated within three to five days of diagnosis before the virus invades the lung tissue. 

Yet, in the United States, these drugs were not authorized for treatment for COVID by the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) and Federal Drug Administration. 

Dr. Woods told Bent he could not understand why these medicines were not used early in the illness.

“And for ERs to test someone that sick and they test positive for COVID and say, ‘We can’t do anything for you,’” he said. “Other than take Tylenol, go home, isolate yourself for whatever number of days they decide on, and then just come back if you get real sick and real short of breath and not even offer them vitamins, not even talk about monitoring their oxygen level with an oximeter.”

Firing

In the end, Dr. Woods was fired after three warnings to not prescribe the drugs, which were deemed dangerous by the hospital. Primarily, he said, the hospital leaders thought there was a risk of his using hydroxychloroquine. 

“They called my behavior risky,” he said. 

 When questioned, Dr. Woods said he attempted to provide studies and data backing his choice of medications, but his arguments ultimately fell on deaf ears. 

Such reactions are what Bent described as “crimes against humanity” in the way the pandemic was handled to the detriment of people.

“One of the most disgusting things about this whole debacle was the way it seems to have been politicized by the corporate media, politicians and whoever it may be that had a special interest in big pharma,” Bent said, “to the extent that it divided the country.”

Both Bent and Dr. Woods see irreparable harm in the ways scientific debate was essentially squashed during the pandemic. 

Bent said he wondered how many people would still be alive if they had access to the medications prescribed by Dr. Woods.

“We are in the fight of our lives in terms of being able to live free in the digital age,” Bent said. “World War III is here. It’s just not the hot war people are used to. It’s a psychological war.”

As for Dr. Woods, he said he appreciated the support of his community. 

“The people of Platte County don’t think I’m crazy,” he said. “I don’t espouse to any conspiracy theories. Really, I’m here today to tell you that I’ve treated about 500 people and none of them have died. They’ve all done well. And I can tell you this: it works.”

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29 New Deaths Associated With Covid Virus in Wyoming

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The number of Wyoming deaths linked to the coronavirus has increased to 1,718, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.

The department said the deaths of 29 people in January and February have been linked to the illness.

The newly reported deaths included 10 Laramie County residents, six men and four women, three Natrona County residents, two men and one woman, and three Fremont County residents, two women and one man.

Other victims included an Albany County man and woman, a Campbell County man, a Crook County woman, a Hot Springs County man, two Park County men, two Sheridan County women, a Sweetwater County woman, a Teton County man, a Washakie County woman and a Weston County woman.

The announcement came on the same day the department announced the number of active coronavirus cases in the state had dropped by 415 over the long holiday weekend to total 539.

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403 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming; 853 Recoveries; 539 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by 415 over the weekend.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 853 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 403 new laboratory-confirmed cases and 64 new probable cases, leaving the state with 539 active cases on Tuesday

Laramie County had 96 cases, Natrona 69; Fremont 57; Teton 52; Campbell 51; Sweetwater 39; Sheridan 24; Park and Washakie 20; Carbon 18; Lincoln 17; Albany 15; Platte 12; Uinta 10; Big Horn and Sublette seven; Goshen six; Crook, Johnson and Weston four; Hot Springs three, while Converse and Niobrara reported two.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 154,549 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 152,292 have recovered.

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Northern Arapaho Tribe Requires COVID Booster For Employees

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By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily

The Northern Arapaho Tribe is requiring its employees who are eligible for the coronavirus booster shot to get the extra vaccination.

Jordan Dresser, the chairman of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, told Cowboy State Daily that the booster shot was mandated last month to make sure all of the tribe’s services remained available to its members.

He added that only one employee left the tribe’s employment in the face of the mandate.

One of two sovereign American Indian tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Fremont County, the NAT government owns several businesses, including the Wind River Hotel and Casino, which has roughly 500 employees. 

The tribe also owns the Wind River Family and Community Healthcare clinic, convenience stores, the Arapaho Ranch and other businesses.  

The NABC is the executive governing body of the tribe. It also has many legislative powers.  

NAT Public Health Officer Dr. Paul Ebbert said that the loss of employees at the Wind River Cares medical clinic was worse back in September, when the tribe issued its original mandate for employees to take the first available vaccinations.

Some clinic workers walked away, Ebbert said.  

“We did lose some staff” last fall, he said.

“And I don’t know about the tribe, but (they didn’t lose) very many,” he added. “In the end most people got their vaccine.”  

The employee losses hurt operations at the clinic “a little bit,” Ebbert said.  

But since then, “We’ve increased our pay to nurses to try and recruit and retain them,” he said.  

Ebbert said the strain of the pandemic also could be prompting nurses to leave the profession.  

Shoshone Tribe Not Mandating 

The Eastern Shoshone Tribe, which also occupies the Wind River Indian Reservation, has not mandated COVID vaccines for its employees, but has continued a practice of weekly testing.  

However, buildings run by the EST have been limited 50 percent of capacity — 25 percent if found noncompliant of 50 percent capacity requirement.

The Intertribal Business Council, made up of both tribes’ governing councils, still has an indoor mask mandate throughout the reservation, and still has a vaccine order in place for employees under the governance of both tribes. 

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202 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Friday; 97 Recoveries; 954 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus increased by 135 on Friday to end the week.  

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 97 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 202 new laboratory-confirmed and 30 new probable cases to leave the state with 954 active cases on Friday.

Two counties had more than 100 active cases.

Laramie County had had 193 cases, Fremont 127; Natrona 88; Campbell 82; Teton 77; Sweetwater 59; Carbon 48; Albany 46; Sheridan 36; Goshen 34; Lincoln 29; Park 24; Hot Springs and Uinta 16; Washakie 15; Platte 14; Converse 11; Weston ten; Sublette eight; Big Horn seven; Johnson had six, while Crook and Niobrara reported four.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 154,082 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 151,439 have recovered.

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164 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Thursday; 268 Recoveries; 819 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by 81 on Thursday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 268 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases Wednesday. 

At the same time, the state reported 164 new laboratory-confirmed cases and 23 new probable cases to leave the state with 819 active cases for Thursday.

Only one county reported over 100 active cases. 

Laramie County had 180 cases, Natrona 78;  Fremont 75; Campbell 73; Teton 69; Sweetwater 52; Albany 45; Carbon 44; Sheridan 30; Goshen 25; Lincoln 22; Park 20; Hot Springs 16; Uinta 16; Washakie 12; Big Horn 16 and Platte 11; Converse ten; Weston nine; Sublette seven; Johnson had six, while Crook and Niobrara reported four.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

 The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 153,850 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 151,342 have recovered.

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Casper Woman Preparing For Freedom Convoy To Go Through Wyoming

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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

A Casper woman is urging Wyoming residents to donate homemade baked goods, breads and handmade cards in a show of support for a nationwide truck convoy expected to pass through the state later this month and again in early March.

Laura Redmond, a photographer and mother of five, is working to drum up support for “The People’s Convoy,” a group of people from across the country who plan to drive to Washington, D.C., to call for an end to the Emergency Powers Act that allowed the federal government to impose various mandates related to COVID-19.

The People’s Convoy is a self-described grassroots campaign involving truckers and people of all professions aimed at converging on Washington, D.C. to seek an end to coronavirus restrictions and mandates.

The routes and meeting time in Washington, D.C. are still being worked out, according to the posts on the convoy’s Facebook page, but at least two routes will take participants through Wyoming.



One of the group’s co-founders, Brian Brase, told Heather Childers on NewsMax Monday evening that his group will be setting off from the Barstow, California, area on Wednesday, Feb. 23 and head to Washington, D.C., on a route that will take travelers through southern Wyoming on Interstate 80.

A second group leaving from Spokane, Washington, on March 2 and following Interstate 90 is scheduled to stop at the Flying J truck stop in Gillette around 1 p.m. on March 3.

Redmond and her children plan to meet the drivers with care packages in hand. 

Until then, she’s in the process of mobilizing groups and individuals throughout the state on her “Freedom Convoy – Wyoming Group” Facebook page to organize the preparation and delivery of other care packages for the drivers.

For Redmond, the message is simple. She wants to show her thanks and support for truckers and other frontline workers and volunteers who “hold the line for our freedom” and support their right to choose whether they are vaccinated against coronavirus.

Redmond said she’s been watching developments in Canada, where truckers have formed blockades to stop travel on some highways in protest of the country’s requirement for truckers traveling between the U.S. and Canada to be vaccinated.

Redmond said she watched with tears in her eyes when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked martial law Tuesday in attempt to break up the protests. 

In the U.S., people haven’t experienced the severe COVID-19 lockdowns and mandates adopted in Canada for the last two years, she said, so they can’t know what it must feel like for those left isolated by the restrictions to come together as a group after all these months. 

Some drivers are embracing their countrymen for the first time in months, while some are still living with mask and vaccine mandates, including a requirement for vaccine passports for truckers crossing into the U.S., the mandate which first prompted the convoy.

Redmond said she appreciates the show of unity and support for the convoy among Canadians and wants to mirror that unity in the U.S. by supporting the truckers as they pass through the state. 

“I want to spread a message of peace and love,” she said. 

Redmond is tired of the divisiveness in the country, she added, and wants to step up to do something about it with this simple message of support and solidarity for truckers, including her husband, a FedEx driver who will not be participating in the convoy. 

Truckers, she said, don’t receive the level of respect they deserve. 

“They (truckers) are considered the scum of the food chain, and they should be at the top,” she said. “We just want to show that we care and love them and appreciate everything they’ve done like keeping food on the shelves and delivering packages to our door. Everything you buy in this state came from a trucker.”

Giving out care packages of homemade baked goods and handmade cards felt like a more personal show of support than handing out money, gift cards or hanging signs along the interstates, she said. 

The truckers, as she knows firsthand, don’t have easy access to homemade goods while out on the road, so she thought it would be appreciated.

“It’s not a protest. It’s coming together to show our support for one another and do we can to help,” she said.

This is a message she said she’s instilled in children, joking that they tell her they’ve inherited her “give” bone. 

Redmond is active in volunteering for a number of causes, she said, and her children have taken note. Her boys, for example, automatically know to shovel snow for their elderly neighbors without accepting any money for their efforts. They are already making out cards for the truckers.

Her message mirrored that delivered by Brase, who welcomed all citizens to join the convoy.

“It’s called the People’s Convoy for a reason,” Brase said. “It’s not just truckers. We’re just the ones standing up, but we want everybody involved. This is not an aisle issue. This isn’t right. This isn’t a left-wing thing. And no matter how much they try to paint it that way. I think it’ll be pretty clear just walking around our convoy that you will see all walks of life are involved in this and all Americans are welcome.”

The Wyoming Trucking Association, meanwhile, is remaining neutral about the convoy. 

Sheila Foertsch, managing director of the Wyoming Trucking Association, said the association does not have an opinion on the convoy one way or the other, because it doesn’t directly impact Wyoming truckers.

“Everyone has a right to do what they want to do,” she said. “There’s really no reason to be protesting in the U.S. because we took it (vaccine mandates for businesses with more than 100 employees) to the Supreme Court and won.”

Any groups or individuals wishing to participate in Redmond’s efforts by baking or delivering goods to drivers are asked to reach out to her on her Facebook page. 

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281 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Wednesday; 274 Recoveries; 901 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total increased by 55 on Wednesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 274 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 281 new laboratory-confirmed cases and 47 new probable cases, leaving Wyomign with 901 active cases on Wednesday.

Two counties reported more than 100 active cases. 

Laramie County had 192 cases, Fremont 104; Natrona 92; Sweetwater 76; Campbell 707; Teton 57; Carbon 42; Albany 40; Sheridan 37; Goshen, Lincoln and Park 26; Hot Springs and Washakie 17; Uinta 16; Sublette 13; Big Horn ten; Converse and Weston nine; Platte had seven; while Crook, Johnson and Niobrara reported five.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 153,663 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 151,074 have recovered.

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House Introduces Bill Requiring ‘Reasonable Accommodation’ For Unvaccinated Workers

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A bill designed to give workers alternatives to vaccinations required by their employers won introduction for legislative consideration on Tuesday.

Wyoming’s House voted 45-15 to introduce House Bill 32, which would specify that employers who require their workers to get vaccines would have to provide reasonable accommodations for employees who cannot or will not get vaccinations.

The bill is similar to one considered during last year’s special session, but it does a better job of balancing the needs of employers against the needs of their workers, said Rep. Sue Wilson, R-Cheyenne, chair of the House Labor, Health and Social Services Committee.

“It works on the existing legal concept of reasonable accommodation,” she said. “It’s actually very narrowly crafted. It does balance the rights of business owners and employers with the interests of employees and clients.”

The bill specifies that an employer who requires workers to be immunized for any preventable disease is guilty of discriminatory employment practices unless the immunization is required by federal law or the unimmunized person poses a threat to the employer’s business.

The employer would be required to develop a “reasonable accommodation” to allow an unimmunized worker to continue doing his or her job.

The bill would also require providers of essential public or private services to develop ways to serve those who either cannot or will not get immunizations.

Wilson said the Labor, Health and Social Services Committee, which drafted the legislation, specifically made it apply to any preventable disease.

“I’m sure we are all very tired of COVID and would like to never hear about it again,” she said. “We think it would be better if the Legislature actually deals with vaccinations and reasonable accommodations now rather than continue to have special sessions for the disease of the year.”

She added that by taking federal laws into account, the committee eliminated a problem that could surface if state law prohibited an employer from requiring a vaccination but federal law required the vaccination.

The bill moved ahead despite opposition from Rep. Cathy Connolly, D-Laramie, the House Minority Floor Leader, who argued it is too broad.

“This bill now coves all vaccine mandates,” she said. “Think smallpox and polio. It upends decades, if not a century of well established doctrine.”

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170 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Tuesday; 350 Recoveries; 846 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by 132 on Tuesday.  

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 350 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases Tuesday. 

At the same time, the state reported 170 new laboratory-confirmed cases and 70 new probable cases to leave Wyoming with 846 active cases.

Only one county reported more than 100 active cases — Laramie with 180.

Fremont and Natrona counties had 93; Sweetwater 77; Campbell 67; Teton 51; Sheridan 43; Albany 34; Park 30; Lincoln 29; Carbon 22; Goshen and Hot Springs 19; Washakie 17; Sublette 15; Uinta 11; Platte nine; Crook and Weston eight; Converse seven; Big Horn six; and Johnson had six, while Niobrara five reported three.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 153,335 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 150,800 have recovered.

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444 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Monday; 1,284 Recoveries; 978 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by 770 over the weekend.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 1,284 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases from Saturday through Monday. 

At the same time, the state reported 444 new laboratory-confirmed cases and 70 new probable cases for a total of 978 active cases on Monday.

This is the first time the active case totals have dropped below 1,000 since Aug. 2, when the total stood at 979.

Three counties had more than 100 cases.

Laramie County had 197 cases, Fremont 129; Natrona 107; Sweetwater 85; Campbell 81; Albany 51; Teton 48; Sheridan 37; Park 36; Lincoln 31; Carbon 25; Goshen 23; Hot Springs and Washakie 19; Sublette 17; Crook 15; Platte 12; Converse and Uinta 10; Big Horn nine; Niobrara and Weston had six, while Johnson reported five.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

 The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 153,095 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 150,450 have recovered.

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302 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Friday; 424 Recovered; 1,748 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by 49 on Friday to tend the week.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 424 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 302 new laboratory-confirmed aand 73 new probable cases to leave the state with  1,748 active cases on Friday

Only one county had more than 300 active cases, while five had more than 100. 

Laramie County had 302 cases; Fremont 234; Natrona 218; Campbell 164; Sweetwater 153;  Albany 92; Teton 85; Carbon 70; Sheridan 67; Lincoln 42; Goshen, Park and Washakie 41; Converse 33; Sublette 25; Crook 21; Big Horn Hot Springs and Weston 20; Uinta 18; Platte 15; Johnson had 14, while Niobrara reported 12.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

 The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 152,561 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 149,166 have recovered.

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316 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Thursday, 1,016 Recoveries; 1,797 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by 613 on Thursday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 1,016 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 316 new laboratory-confirmed cases and 87 new probable cases, leaving the state with 1,797 active cases for Thursday.

Only one county had more than 300 active cases and five had more than 100. 

Laramie County had 313 cases, Fremont 240; Natrona 233; Sweetwater 170; Campbell 152; Teton 97; Albany 86; Carbon 76; Sheridan 153; Goshen 48; Park 47; Lincoln 43; Washakie 40; Uinta 29; Converse 25; Sublette 23; Platte 22; Big Horn and Weston 20; Crook and Hot Springs 18; Niobrara had 13, while Johnson reported 11.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 152,206 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 148,742 have recovered.

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510 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Wednesday; 44 Recoveries; 2,410 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus increased by 600 on Wednesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 44 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases on Wednesday. 

At the same time, the state reported 510 new laboratory-confirmed and 134 probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 2,410 active cases for Wednesday.

Only one county had more than 300 active cases and nine had more than 100. 

Laramie County had 397 cases, Fremont 334; Natrona 309; Sweetwater 2348; Campbell 204; Teton 125; Carbon 109; Albany 105; Sheridan 102; Park 67; Lincoln 66; Goshen 53; Washakie 39; Uinta 36; Platte 35; Crook and Sublette 33; Hot Springs and Weston 31; Converse 26; Big Horn 16; Niobrara had 14, while Johnson reported 11.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 151,803 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 147,726 have recovered.

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287 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Tuesday, 1,055 Recoveries; 1,810 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by 635 on Tuesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 1,055 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 287 new laboratory-confirmed and 150 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 1,810 active cases for Tuesday.

Only one county had more than 300 active cases, while five had more than 100. 

Laramie County had 305 cases, Fremont 242; Natrona 239; Campbell 171; Sweetwater 168; Sheridan 98; Teton 88; Albany 69; Park 63; Carbon; 54; Lincoln 53; Goshen 40; Converse and Uinta 28; Platte 27; Crook and Hot Springs 24; Weston 23; Sublette 22; Washakie 16; Big Horn 12; Johnson had nine, while Niobrara reported seven.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 151,159 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 147,682 have recovered.

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Dept of Health Reports 17 New COVID-Related Deaths in Wyoming

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The number of Wyoming residents whose deaths have been linked to COVID has increased by 17 to total 1,667, the Wyoming Department of Health announced Tuesday.

The department announced that the deaths occurred in 11 counties in January and February.

The deaths included four Laramie County residents, two men and two women, and three Sheridan County residents, two men and one woman.

Two Fremont County residents, a man and a woman, were also reported to have died.

Other deaths included a Converse County man, a Goshen County man, a Natrona County man, a Park County man, a Platte County man, a Sublette County woman, a Uinta County woman and a Washakie County woman.

The announcement was made on the same day as department figures showed the number of active coronavirus cases in the state declined by 635 on Tuesday to total 1,810.

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711 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Monday; 1,397 Recoveries; 2,445 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by 517 on Monday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 1,397 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases from Saturday through Monday. 

At the same time, the state reported 711 new laboratory-confirmed and 169 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 2,445 active cases for Monday

Two counties had more than 300 active cases and seven had more than 100. 

Laramie County had 403 cases, Fremont 389; Natrona 280; Campbell 231; Sweetwater 216; Sheridan 121; Albany 109; Teton 89; Carbon 83; Park 78; Lincoln 69; Uinta 55; Goshen 45; Crook 40; Sublette 39; Hot Springs 34; Platte 33; Converse and Weston 30; Washakie 28; Bog Horn 20 Johnson had 13, while Niobrara reported ten. No county reported zero active cases.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 150,722 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 146,627 have recovered.

The U.S. Senate Youth “Washington Week” event will be held March 6-9.

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1,170 New Coronavirus Cases On Friday; 1,348 Recoveries; 2,962 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s active coronavirus increased by 112 on Friday to end the week.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 1,348 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases on Thursday and Friday. 

At the same time, the state reported 1,170 new laboratory-confirmed and 290 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 2,962 active cases on Friday

Three counties had more than 300 active cases, five had more than 200 and nine had more than 100. 

Laramie County had 479 cases. Natrona 396; Fremont had 343; Campbell 262; Sweetwater 217; Sheridan 152; Albany 142; Carbon 124; Teton 103; Park 97; Goshen 95; Lincoln 72; Uinta 70; Sublette 62; Converse 56; Niobrara 54; Washakie 47; Weston 43; Crook 40; Big Horn 34; Johnson 27; Hot Springs had 25, while Platte reported 22. No county reported zero active cases.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

 The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 149,842 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 145,230 have recovered.

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805 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Wednesday, 3,451 Recoveries; 2,850 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by 2,374 on Wednesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 3,451 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 805 new laboratory-confirmed and 272 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 2,850 active cases for Tuesday

Three counties had more than 300 active cases, five had more than 200, and nine had more 100. 

Laramie County dropped 620, to 505 cases, while Natrona dropped 394, to 374. Fremont had 312; Campbell 282; Sweetwater 220; Sheridan 160; Carbon 122; Albany 117; Teton 111; Park 88; Uinta 76; Goshen 67; Lincoln 60; Washakie 49; Converse and Sublette 48; Niobrara 39; Weston 37; Johnson 36; Crook 35; Big Horn 31; Platte had 19, while Hot Springs reported 14.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 148,382 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 143,882 have recovered.

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Cheyenne Health Official: Nearly 1,000 Kids Got COVID In Last Month

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

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.

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Defense Secretary Tells Gordon National Guard Members Must Get COVID Vaccine

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Secretary of Defense told Gov. Mark Gordon in a letter sent late last week that regardless of any objections at the state level, Wyoming Air and Army National Guard members must be vaccinated against COVID.

Last month, Gordon and several other Republican governors sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, in which they argued that Austin has no authority to discipline members of the National Guard serving in a state capacity.

Austin responded in a letter dated Jan. 27, telling Gordon that he considered the thousands of COVID-related hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths among service members, civilians and their families when making the mandate.

“COVID-19 takes our service members out of the fight, temporarily or permanently, and jeopardizes our ability to meet mission requirements,” Austin said in the letter to Gordon.

“To ensure that we maintain a healthy and ready military force capable of accomplishing our mission to defend this nation and to protect the American people, vaccination against COVID-19 is an essential military readiness requirement for all components and units of the military, including the Wyoming National Guard,” he said.

Gordon’s spokesman Michael Pearlman told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that the governor’s position follows the constitutional premise that the commander-in-chief of a state’s National Guard is the governor of the state.

“Therefore, he maintains command and control over this important force, not the Department of Defense unless activated by the President,” Pearlman said. 

“Secretary of Defense Austin’s response to the governors’ concerns fails to consider and address this important constitutional and legal issue. The governor intends to continue to dialog with the federal authorities to attempt to resolve this critical national issue,” he said.

Last month, Gordon said the federal government does not have command or control of National Guard units.

“The Wyoming National Guard is under my command and control,” Gordon said in mid-December. “These directives are an overreach of the federal government’s authority.”

In the letter to Austin, the governors noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed “that the National Guard is under the command and control of the Governor of each state unless those members are called to active service …”

Austin told Gordon that the concerns raised in the letter did not negate the need for vaccines.

Under the vaccine mandate of the administration of President Joe Biden, National Guard members were given until Dec. 2 to get the vaccine, obtain an exemption from the requirement or be removed from service.

Austin sent identical letters to the other governors who sent the one in December, including Gov. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Gov. Tate Reeves of Mississippi and Gov. Mike Dunleavy of Alaska and Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma.

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25 More COVID-Related Deaths Reported By Wyoming Dept of Health

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The number of deaths of Wyoming residents tied to coronavirus has increased to 1,650, the Wyoming Department of Health announced Tuesday.

The department announced the deaths of another 25 Wyoming residents in December and January was responsible for boosting the number.

The deaths included six Laramie County residents, five women and one man, four Sweetwater County residents, three men and one woman, and three Park County residents, two women and one man.

Other deaths included a Campbell County man, two Crook County men, a Fremont County man, a Natrona County man and woman, a Lincoln County man, a Niobrara County man, two Sheridan County men, a Uinta County man and a Weston County man.

The news came on the same day the Wyoming Department of Health announced a decline of 285 in the number of active COVID cases around the state.

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Casper Health Officer: Wyoming Is “Exploding” With Omicron Cases

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming is “exploding” with the Omicron variant of coronavirus, according to Natrona County’s health officer, who urged people to get their booster shots of the vaccine to keep from being infected.

Dr. Mark Dowell took to social media to discuss the Omicron variant of COVID and to encourage more people to get their vaccinations and booster shots.

“The state is exploding with cases,” Dowell said. “We have not peaked yet. There are 150 people statewide in the hospital. This is a very contagious variant.”

Dowell said some testing sites in Casper are reporting back a 40% positivity rate for infections, one of the highest seen since the pandemic began.

“The people that are really getting into trouble with this don’t have good immune systems,” he said. “Nationally, only a third of people have received their booster. That makes no sense. Why go to the trouble of getting the original vaccine series and let your protection go down and not get boosted?”

The health officer said that while he understood people had “COVID fatigue,” it was better than actually getting sick from the virus.

Dowell said he is pushing for the booster because the long-term effects of COVID are still unknown. He added he has seen people with “brain fog” and even neurological issues months after their COVID diagnosis.

Unless the entire community gets immunized against COVID, Dowell warned that more and more variants may continue to pop up, as Delta and Omicron and other variants have so far.

He also suggested that people take advantage of the free COVID testing kits that can be ordered through the U.S. Postal Service.

“I still don’t want this and neither do you,” he said. “Let’s hope that by the end of February, all of this is calming down rapidly.”

Cowboy State Daily was unable to connect with Dowell in person by publication time.

As of Tuesday, Wyoming had 5,255 active COVID cases, a decline of 285 from Monday.

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Laramie County Health Director Says Booster Keeps People Out of Hospital For Covid

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Getting a booster dose of the COVID vaccine seems to make all the difference when it comes to COVID infections and related hospitalizations, according to the Laramie County Health Department’s executive director.

As was the case last week, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center has more vaccinated people hospitalized than non-vaccinated. However, county Health Department Director Kathy Emmons questioned if patients designated as being “fully vaccinated” had received a booster shot.

“There is a difference between people who have gotten the vaccine and those who have gotten the vaccine and booster,” Emmons said.

Of the 43 patients hospitalized Monday at CRMC, 26 were considered fully vaccinated. However, only three of those vaccinated had received the booster shot, hospital spokeswoman Kathy Baker told Cowboy State Daily.

“Only three of the Covid positive patients that we are currently treating have received their booster shot,” she said. “And the ages of the patients at CRMC who are COVID positive range from 21 to 91 years, so people of all ages are still being hospitalized because of the virus.”

Of the three patients in the hospital’s intensive care unit, two were fully vaccinated, and one was not.

Additionally, of the three deaths the hospital saw over the last week of the month, two were fully vaccinated and one was not.

However, no one was on a ventilator, vaccinated or not.

Echoing comments by Wyoming State Public Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist, Emmons said with the Omicron variant, patients tend to be sick for shorter periods of time and seem to experience much milder symptoms, especially if they are fully vaccinated and boosted.

“It appears that the people who are hospitalized now are much different than those who were hospitalized three months ago, because with the Delta variant, people would be in the hospital for quite a long time,” Emmons said. “They were there for weeks, if not months, and would be on ventilators. But it is important to note that now, we’re seeing a lot of positive cases, but they’re nowhere near as sick as with the Delta variant.”

Anecdotally and statistically, Emmons said that people are less likely to catch COVID if they have been fully vaccinated and received a booster shot. She noted that it is possible for someone to have received all doses of the vaccine and still catch the virus, but they are becoming infected at lesser rates than people who have received all of their vaccine doses, but not a booster.

“We strongly encourage people to get their vaccinations and to not forget that booster,” she said.

As of Monday, 165 patients across the state were hospitalized due to COVID.

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