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Watch Governor Mark Gordon’s Press Conference

in Coronavirus/News

Governor Mark Gordon hosted a press conference on Monday to discuss the coronavirus situation in Wyoming. You can watch the full press conference here.

How to Find Statistics and Information About the Coronavirus in Wyoming

in Coronavirus/News

Every time we publish a post on Facebook from Cowboy State Daily, we note the comments that follow the article.

We get questions like “how many have recovered?” (we’ve started adding that to our stories) and many others.

When possible, we’ll answer those questions in each article — if the information is available.

One way to stay on top of this information by yourself is to check out the COVID-19 Map and Statistics on the Wyoming Department of Health’s website.

Here you’ll find a running tally of many important things like:

Number of cases
Location of the COVID-19 cases by county of residence.
Numbers of tests conducted
Numbers of recoveries
Numbers of deaths
Symptoms preceding onset
Cases by exposure risk
Cases by reported hospitalization
Cases by sex and age group
Symptoms Reported by cases

It’s worth your while to bookmark this site if you are following the conoravirus in Wyoming.

Gordon: Wyoming Residents Don’t Need ‘Stay At Home’ Order

in Coronavirus/News
File Courtesy YouTube Screengrab

By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming residents are responsible enough not need the state ordering them to stay in their homes, Gov. Mark Gordon said Monday.

Gordon, speaking on the Townsquare Media radio program “Wake Up Wyoming,” said he feels Wyoming residents will act on their own to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“Wyoming people don’t need an order to know what’s important,” he said. “They have common sense.”

Gordon noted that in many states that have issued “stay-at-home” orders, there are numerous objections.

“If you really look at those statewide stay-at-home orders, they really have so many exemptions to them that they’re not materially different from what we have already recommended,” he said. 

Jackson’s Town Council on Saturday adopted a “stay-at-home” order for its residents, barring them from leaving their homes except to obtain supplies, such as groceries or medicine, to go to work in an essential job or to take part in outdoor recreation.

Teton County adopted a similar order on Saturday, but it applied only to those age 65 and order and those with high-risk medical conditions.

Gordon said Wyoming’s counties are free to adopt any restrictions they feel are necessary.

“If an individual county feels it’s appropriate and they need to issue a more strict stay-at-home guideline, then we can support that as counties feel it’s necessary,” he said.

However, Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr, also speaking on the “Wake Up Wyoming” program, said she believes if some sort of restrictions are needed, they should be imposed statewide, not on a county-by-county basis.

What we are seeing … in the state is these patchwork ordinances are really problematic,” she said. “It’s not that I’m saying we need to shut down, but that any order needs to be statewide.”

Three statewide orders are in place restricting businesses and people. One closes schools and businesses where more than 10 people are likely to gather, one closes businesses that provide personal services, such as hair salons and tattoo parlors, and the third restricts gatherings to fewer than 10 people. All three orders are in place until April 17.

While President Donald Trump on Sunday recommended that people follow social distancing guidelines for the next 30 days, Gordon said state officials will assess daily whether the state orders need to be extended.

Gordon also said state officials had expected to see an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases as more tests for the virus were conducted with increased numbers of available test kits.

“We only had a limited number of tests to start with, so the positives, we kind of came in below what we would have expected to see,” he said. “As we’ve ramped up testing, we’d expected to see more positives and that is in fact what’s happened.”

The state had 94 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Monday morning.

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Hooray! John Krasinski and Steve Carell Have a Mini-Reunion of “The Office”

in Coronavirus/News

Want some good news? Of course you do.

If you are a fan of the TV show The Office, then you probably miss it. We do. And you hope they’ll have a reunion or bring it back. Again, we do.

There was a reunion — of sorts.

Krasinski decided there wasn’t a site devoted to “good news” (actually, there are plenty).

But who are we to be scrooges and tell him that it’s already being done. Because, really, you can never have enough good news.

Krasinski launched his “good news” show on Sunday and brought back Steve Carell his former boss on the TV show.

And it was fun to see them together.

At this point, there is no use to continuing this article because you came here to see the video. So watch it.

We started the YouTube video where Krasinski and Carell are together, but it’s worth it to watch the whole thing.

Teton County, Jackson Issue ‘Stay At Home’ Orders

in Coronavirus/News

Teton County and Jackson officials issued separate but similar orders over the weekend for their residents to remain at their homes if at all possible to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Jackson’s order, adopted as an emergency ordinance by its town council, applied to all of the town’s residents, while the order issued by Teton County’s health officer applied to those age 65 and older and those suffering from high-risk medical conditions. Both were issued Saturday.

“(We) have seen mounting evidence that community-wide stay-at-home orders can have significant impacts on slowing the virus’ spread, particularly when implemented in the early phase of viral community spread,” said Dr. Travis Riddell, Teton County’s health officer. “We are in that phase now. I am absolutely in favor of a community-wide stay-at-home order.”

Both orders direct residents to stay at home except to perform tasks essential to health and safety, to obtain or deliver necessary supplies or services — such as groceries or medical supplies — to work at an essential business, to care for others or to take part in outdoor activities. In all cases, the orders required people to stay at least six feet away from each other.

Teton County and Jackson are the first Wyoming entities to issue “stay-at-home” orders.

Carl Pelletier, a public information officer and special events coordinator for Jackson, stressed the “stay at home” order is very different from the more restrictive “shelter in place” orders seen in other areas because a “stay at home” order allows people to go outside.

“When I hear ‘Shelter-in-Place’ I think of hunkering down in my basement during a tornado when growing up in the midwest, or not leaving my home due to a massive chemical spill occurring in West Jackson, or if there was an active shooter roaming through town a ‘Shelter-in-Place’ order might be instituted,” he wrote in an email to a reporter. “A ‘Stay-at-Home’ ordinance allows individuals to be outside their homes … raking leaves, hiking up Snow King, sitting on your lawn and soaking in some sun.” 

Wyoming Dept Of Health: More Cases of Coronavirus Exist Than Confirmed

in Coronavirus/News
Courtesy Glenn Woods screengrab

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

More cases of coronavirus probably exist in the state than the 94 that have been confirmed, a spokeswoman for the Wyoming Department of Health said Monday.

Kim Deti, speaking on the “Coronavirus town hall” broadcast on Townsquare Media’s “Wake Up Wyoming” radio program, said it is common for undiagnosed cases of illnesses to exist around the state. However, she added unlike other illnesses, coronavirus is a new disease, so people’s immune systems haven’t developed a method to fight it off. 

“That’s what makes this different, it’s new,” Deti said. “There’s a higher potential for a quick and heavy spread of it across the country. Our bodies aren’t prepared to fight it, which could mean a lot of people sick at one time.”

Other guests during the town hall interviews included Gov. Mark Gordon and Laramie County School District No. 1 Superintendent Boyd Brown. 

Host Glenn Woods kicked off the interview by asking Deti how she was holding up, now that the virus has infected at least 94 people in the state so far. 

“It’s been very busy, but there are a lot of people involved in this whole situation who are working a lot harder than I am,” Deti responded. 

The key for Deti and the staff at the DOH has been to ensure the credibility of the information they’re sharing with the media and public. She suggested anyone looking for up-to-date information about the virus and Wyoming should visit the Department of Health’s website or the state’s coronavirus-specific site.

She also discussed the difference between testing for the virus and collecting samples, which has caused some confusion among members of the public. 

As of Monday morning, 1,389 tests had been completed at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory, one test had been completed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab and 544 tests were conducted by commercial labs. The latter are required to report positive test results to the Department of Health, but negative results aren’t reported consistently. Deti noted that the Department of Health began testing for the virus on March 5. 

Last week, the department received around 2,700 sample collection kits to divvy up among the state’s 23 counties. 

“We’re trying to order more supplies and look at other options,” Deti said. “But it’s a challenge because we’re in a pandemic. When you’re in this situation, everyone wants the same things at the same time across the country and maybe even the world.” 

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Wyoming Coronavirus Cases At 94, Recoveries At 24

in Coronavirus/News

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Wyoming grew to 94 on Monday as the Wyoming Department of Health reporting seven new cases in five counties.

The Department of Health reported that Sheridan and Teton each reported two new cases of the virus on Monday morning while Fremont, Laramie and Natrona counties reported one new case each.

As of Monday morning, Fremont County remained the hardest hit in the state with 24 cases. Laramie County had 20, Teton County had 16, Natrona had 10, Sheridan had eight, Johnson had five and Carbon County had three. Albany, Campbell, Converse, Goshen, Park, Sublette, Sweetwater and Washakie had one case each.

The Health Department also reported that the number of patients across the state to have recovered from coronavirus increased by four to total 24.

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Teton County Issues State’s First ‘Shelter in Place’ Order

in Coronavirus/News

By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Teton County on Saturday ordered older adults, people living in nursing homes, those with high-risk medical conditions and those living with an older adult or person with a high-risk medical conditions to stay at home.

The county became the first in the state to issue such a “shelter-in-place” order. Dr. Travis Riddell, Teton County’s health officer, issued the order in the face of the 13 coronavirus cases detected in the county.

The order bans travel by the identified individuals except to perform tasks essential to health and safety, such as obtaining medical supplies or supplies needed to work from home, to care for a family member or pet in another household, to obtain or deliver services or supplies such as food or to travel to a place of employment if work cannot be done remotely from home.

In his order, Riddell cited the fact that restrictions on such travel are needed to slow the spread of coronavirus and protect the county’s health care system from being overwhelmed.

The order is in effect until April 17.

Earlier in the day, a spokesperson for Teton County said Governor Gordon was failing Wyoming for not issuing a shelter-in-place mandate.

“Western states that surround us are all in a shelter in place but not us, we’re gonna let the numbers climb, allow hospitals to get inundated and watch people die,” said Kristen Waters, public information specialist for Teton County.

“But that’s cool because we’re cowboying up and doin’ it the Wyoming way, where essential businesses are firearm & ammunition and liquor stores,” she said.

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Fremont County: 400+ People Told To Self-Quarantine & 27 Tests Waiting For Results

in Coronavirus/News

By Bill Sniffin, Cowboy State Daily publisher

LANDER – More than 400 Fremont County residents have been directed to isolate themselves in their homes because of the coronavirus, according to county officials.

Dr. Brian Gee, the county’s health officer, released the number during a news conference Friday and said another 23 people are under quarantine to prevent the spread of the illness.

According to a news release from the Fremont County Incident Management Team, the number of people in self-isolation was determined through polling of public health nurses, clinics and health care providers.

Gee also said 27 Fremont County residents have been tested for coronavirus and the county is waiting for the results of those tests.

There have been 17 positive cases in Fremont County as of Friday afternoon and two victims have recovered

“We are now considering potential discharges of some of the patients with this disease,” Dr. Gee said. “While this is wonderful news, it points to the fact that the average discharge from beginning to the end of hospitalization in the US for people who get COVID is around 11 days.”  

“This, in itself, is different from most disease processes,” he said. “Because of this, Fremont County Public Health is working with all providers in the county to see how best to manage these patients as they begin a transition out of the hospital.”

“We are currently collecting names of many healthcare providers who would be interested in helping, if needed, with this process.  The response has been phenomenal so far,” he said. 

Most of Fremont County’s cases are connected with the Showboat Retirement Center in Lander, Gee said.

“Based on the numbers we are seeing over the last week, the number of cases in Fremont County is growing at a rapid rate,” the doctor said. “The Fremont County Health Department is stressing the importance to heed the Governor’s request and continue the self-isolation and distancing.”

“We would all like this bad news to be better but until our measures are fully implemented through Fremont County, we encourage everyone to stay the course,” he said.

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Teton County Spokesperson: Governor Gordon is Failing Us

in Coronavirus/Mark Gordon/News

A public information specialist for Teton County had harsh words on Saturday for how Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon and State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist are handling the coronavirus epidemic.

Kristen Waters, who moved to Wyoming in 2014, lambasted Wyoming’s governor in a Facebook post she published late Saturday morning.

“Governor Gordon and our State Health Officer are failing us,” Waters said. “Especially when you consider our states (sic) massive elderly population and small town hospital capacity.”

“Many counties SHARE hospitals, that have 30 or less beds and 10 or less ventilators,” she continued. “Western states that surround us are all in a shelter in place but not us, we’re gonna let the numbers climb, allow hospitals to get inundated and watch people die.”

Adopting a sarcastic tone, Waters criticized citizens of Wyoming.

“But that’s cool because we’re cowboying up and doin’ it the Wyoming way, where essential businesses are firearm & ammunition and liquor stores,” she said.

Waters suggested the state’s counties should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to mandate “shelter-in-place” policies.

“At a minimum, the state should let counties do what is right for our own individual counties, instead of continually rejecting public health orders presented by our own public health officer that literally says the purpose is to limit PREVENTABLE death,” she wrote.

On Friday, Gordon and Harrist extended three existing statewide health orders through April 17.

These orders close public places including schools, prohibiting gatherings of 10 people or more in a single room or confined space (including outdoors).

Bars, restaurants, coffee shops and some personal services businesses will also be closed through April 17. Food establishments can continue to provide take out and delivery services.

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