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33 New Coronavirus Cases in Wyoming on Saturday; 639 Active

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Editor’s Note: This is a map of the active coronavirus cases in each county across Wyoming. The number of active cases is determined by subtracting the total number of recoveries seen since the illness first reached Wyoming in mid-March from the total number of confirmed and probable cases diagnosed during the same time period and taking into account deaths related to the disease.

The number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming dropped by 15 Saturday as the reported recoveries outnumbered the total of new cases for the first time in several days.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, said 33 new laboratory-confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus were reported Saturday, while the number of people reported as recovered from the illness in the last 24 hours was set at 48.

The end result was 639 active cases, a decline of 15 from Friday.

Albany County had 131 cases; Natrona County had 98; Fremont had 52; Sheridan had 51; Laramie had 49; Converse had 39; Teton had 30; Park had 26; Campbell had 25; Uinta had 21; Lincoln had 19; Carbon had 18; Crook had 17; Goshen and Sublette had 16; Platte had nine; Hot Springs had eight; Sweetwater and Washakie had five; Weston had two, and Big Horn and Johnson had one.

The active cases were made up of 521 people with laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus and 118 with probable 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, 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 Health Department said the number of confirmed cases in the state went up by 30 on Saturday, with new cases reported in 12 counties: Albany, Campbell, Carbon, Fremont, Hot Springs, Laramie, Lincoln, Natrona, Sheridan, Sublette, Teton and Uinta. Albany and Fremont counties saw the largest increase in cases at five.

The increase brings the number of confirmed cases seen since the illness was first detected in Wyoming in March to 4,039.

The number of probable cases, where a patient has coronavirus symptoms and has been in contact with someone with a confirmed case but has not been tested for the illness, went up by three Saturday to total 741 since the pandemic began.

The 48 recoveries reported Saturday brings to 4,092 the number of people infected with coronavirus to have recovered since mid-March. The recoveries have been seen among 3,469 people with laboratory-confirmed cases and 623 with probable cases.

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86 New Coronavirus Cases in Wyoming; 603 Active

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Sixteen Wyoming counties reported 70 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus Thursday, pushing the number of active cases in the state back over 600.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, said the confirmed cases, along with 16 new probable cases and only 29 recoveries, combined to give the state an active case total of 603, an increase of 54 from Wednesday.

As recently as Tuesday, the state had only 467 active cases, but in the last two days, 174 new confirmed cases have been reported.

As of Thursday, Albany County had 125 active cases; Natrona County had 97; Laramie County had 51; Sheridan had 49; Fremont had 44; Converse had 35; Teton had 33; Park had 23; Campbell had 20; Goshen and Uinta had 18; Crook and Lincoln had 17; Carbon and Sublette had 14; Platte had 11; Sweetwater had five; Washakie had four; Hot Springs and Weston had three, and Big Horn and Johnson had one.

The active cases were divided among 493 people with confirmed cases and 110 with probable 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, 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.

Increases in confirmed cases were reported in Albany, Campbell, Carbon, Converse, Fremont, Hot Springs, Laramie, Lincoln, Natrona, Park, Platte, Sheridan, Sublette, Sweetwater, Teton and Washakie counties.

Albany and Natrona County both posted double-digit gains in new cases, 16 and 11, respectively.

The increases bring to 3,936 the total number of confirmed cases diagnosed since the pandemic began.

The number of probable cases seen since March was set at 716 on Thursday, an increase of 16 from Wednesday.

Of the 4,652 people infected with coronavirus, 4,000 have recovered, the Department of Health said, including 3,394 with confirmed cases and 606 with probable cases.

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UW Survey: 61% Of Wyomingites Wearing Masks In Public

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A majority of surveyed Wyomingites recently said they’ve changed their daily routine by wearing a mask in public due to the coronavirus.

The survey, conducted Aug. 10, was done by the University of Wyoming’s Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center. The recorded results of mask use went up to 61%, an increase of 8 percentage points, since July 14 and by 15 percentage points since April.

The survey is the seventh in a series WYSAC is conducting to measure public opinion on a number of topics related to the coronavirus. A total of 503 Wyoming residents participated in the survey, representing all Wyoming counties, ages and genders, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

When asked about the previous two weeks, 44% of Wyomingites said they always wore a face covering when in indoor public places, an increase of 15 percentage points from July.

Additionally, 22% said they wore a mask often, an increase of 2 percentage points.

Almost half of the residents surveyed said they would strongly support an ordinance that required people in their community to wear a mask when visiting indoor public places, with an additional 13% saying that would somewhat support an ordinance.

Only 21% said they would strongly support an ordinance requiring a mask in outdoor public places and 19% said they would somewhat support that type of requirement.

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Barrasso: Everyone Needs To Continue To Wear Masks

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Although the latest University of Wyoming poll shows Wyomingites have become more and more comfortable with wearing a mask in public, there are still those in the state who object to it like the protestors at the State Capitol on Thursday.

Put U.S. Senator John Barrasso, who is also a physician, in the former camp. The senator continues to be a strong advocate of wearing a mask to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus and said so on CNN Wednesday afternoon.

“I think masks do help reduce the spread,” Barrasso said. “I have my mask right here. I just took it off in front of the camera for the interview.”

“We know how important wearing a mask is. We need to do all we can to lower of the risk of spread,” he said.

The senator said there has been “huge progress” made in the fight against the coronavirus, noting that the U.S. is now conducting 800-thousand tests per day and that the number of new cases and the death rate are both down.

“All of these things are in the right way because we are wearing masks, keeping social distance, as well as washing and proper hygiene,” he said.

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Wyoming Has Some Of The Fastest Recovering Unemployment Claims In Country

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming has been ranked in the top 10 states when it comes to the fastest recovering unemployment rates, a recent study declared.

Wyoming placed tenth for improvements in its unemployment rate seen since the coronavirus pandemic began in mid-March, according to personal finance website WalletHub.

Unemployment claims from the week of Sept. 10 compared to the same week last year are up by 150%, with 610 claims submitted last week vs. 244 the same week last year.

However, unemployment rates are down by 7.85% compared to the start of 2020, with 662 claims coming in the week of Jan. 1 compared to last week’s 610.

Unemployment rates are up 823.47% during the period from the beginning of the pandemic to last week when compared to the same period last year.

There were 63,827 unemployment claims in Wyoming between the week of March 16 and Sept. 9 compared to 7,751 between the week of March 18, 2019 and Sept. 9, 2019.

Oregon had the best recoveries when it came to unemployment claims over the last week and since the beginning of the pandemic. Kansas had the worst unemployment recoveries over the past week, but Georgia had the worst recoveries since the beginning of the pandemic.

WalletHub found that blue states’ unemployment claims are recovering faster than red states’ claims.

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University of Wyoming President Hopeful Fall Sports Can Be Resurrected

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Edward Seidel
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Could Wyoming have a football season this year?

Never say never. University of Wyoming President Ed Seidel issued a statement on Thursday stating he is “hopeful” that fall sports can be resurrected.

Although he didn’t specifically mention football and he didn’t specifically mention timing, he did say the university and its “colleagues” are working to find a way to bring sports back.

“Due to recent advances in COVID-19 testing technology, and in light of the decision by the Big Ten Conference to return to competition in October, I am hopeful that we will find a safe path forward to get our athletics program back in business,” Seidel said.

“Our coaches and players have done a phenomenal job of preparing in this difficult period. They have done every single thing asked of them, and I couldn’t be more proud of their work ethic — they have truly exhibited what it means to be a Cowboy or Cowgirl at the University of Wyoming,” he said.

“Our athletics director, Tom Burman, and our Department of Athletics are working hard with their colleagues to bring the postponement to an end for the Cowboys and Cowgirls,” he said. “We’re not able to announce anything right now, but be assured that we’re doing everything we can to make it happen.”

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Three More Deaths Bring Wyoming COVID Fatalities To 49

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Three more Wyoming residents have died as a result of coronavirus, the Wyoming Department of Health announced Thursday.

The department, in a news release, said the deaths of the three older men raised the number of coronavirus-related fatalities seen in the state since the disease was first diagnosed here in mid-March to 49.

One of the victims was an older Goshen County man who died earlier this month at an out-of-state hospital after contracting the virus in Wyoming. The department said it was unclear whether the man had underlying health conditions that might make him more susceptible to complications from the illness.

Another older man, this one from Natrona County, died last week while being hospitalized.

The man did have underlying health conditions, the department said.

The third victim, an older Park County man who had underlying health conditions, died within the last week, the department said. It added the man had not been hospitalized for treatment of coronavirus prior to his death.

Alaska is the only state in the nation with fewer coronavirus-related deaths than Wyoming at 44. Wyoming is one of only three states, along with Alaska and Vermont, with fewer than 100 deaths.

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Record 104 New Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Reported in Wyoming Wednesday

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

More than 100 new confirmed cases of coronavirus were reported in the state Wednesday as almost three-quarters of the state’s counties reported new cases.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, said 17 counties reported 104 new confirmed cases Wednesday, the largest single-day increase in cases seen since the illness was first detected in Wyoming in mid-March.

Kim Deti, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health, said the new cases are coming from a variety of sources.

“Recent cases have involved workplaces, social gatherings, the university, community colleges and schools,” she said in an email. 

Some counties reported double-digit increases in new cases. Natrona County reported 23 new cases; Albany County reported 15; Sheridan reported 13 and Converse reported 12.

The increase in confirmed cases, combined with 24 new probable cases, pushed the number of active coronavirus cases in the state back over 500.

Department figures showed the number of active cases in the state grew by 82 on Wednesday to total 549.

Albany County had 109 active cases; Natrona had 86; Laramie had 50; Sheridan had 49; Fremont had 38; Converse had 33; Teton had 30; Park had 25; Campbell had 19; Goshen had 18; Crook had 17; Lincoln, Sublette and Uinta had 14; Carbon and Platte had nine; Weston had four; Sweetwater and Washakie had three; Hot Springs and Johnson had two, and Big Horn had one.

The active cases were seen among 451 people with confirmed cases and 98 with probable 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, 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 increase in confirmed cases Wednesday brings the total number of confirmed cases diagnosed since mid-March to 3,866.

The number of probable cases, those where patients have coronavirus symptoms and have been in contact with someone with a confirmed case but have not been tested for the illness, went up by 24 Wednesday to total 700 since the pandemic began.

Recoveries also increased Wednesday, growing by 46 to push the number of people to recover from the illness to 3,971, including 3,369 people with confirmed cases and 602 with probable cases.

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UW Installs New COVID Indicators To Avoid Second Lockdown

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The University of Wyoming has developed a set of benchmarks to be monitored daily to guide its decisions regarding the coronavirus.

UW President Ed Seidel will present the new coronavirus indicators to the Board of Trustees on Thursday. They will include the total on-campus student cases of coronavirus, the university’s capacity for isolation/quarantine and the total number of active cases.

Action taken based on the status of those indicators could include another pause of in-person classes, quarantining a single residence hall or floor of a hall, shifting specific classes or events to an online venue for a period of time or reducing density of a designated area.

“I am tremendously proud of how our faculty, staff and students have navigated our path to returning to the vibrant on-campus research and learning environment we value. We are committed to creating the safest possible experience for our university community,” Seidel said in a news release. “Our updated set of indicators, thresholds and tactics was developed based upon our experience with the virus at UW; the latest scientific data and guidance from universities across the country; and with the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students as our top priority.

“It will allow us to move forward and nimbly address new developments on a daily basis,” he continued.

The new set of indicators update the university’s contingency plan created by a committee during the summer to help the university decide how to address a potential spike of infections on campus.

As the university has emerged from a short-term pause in operations spurred by an increase in cases, Seidel asked the committee that developed the original plan to revisit the contingency framework using information that was gained through the pause and the continued migration back to campus.

The university also has boosted staffing in key areas, allowing consideration of more possible actions in response to specific situations, Seidel said.

“As we track these indicators, we’ll have a wide-ranging set of actions and interventions that can be taken, based on a combination of the data and the context of the evolving situation,” he said. “We expect this approach will provide a set of actions that, along with the commitment of everyone to follow our policies on distancing, face protection and gatherings, will allow for us to have an on-campus experience in the safest manner possible.”

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Gordon Extends Wyoming Health Orders For Fifth Time

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Public health orders limiting the size of outdoor and indoor gatherings will remain in place for at least two more weeks, Gov. Mark Gordon announced Tuesday.

However, the rules have been relaxed in some areas to allow indoor group close-contact activities such as sporting events.

Gordon had cited a desire to see the impacts of the Labor Day holiday and the reopening of K-12 schools for in-person learning before easing the current health orders, something he echoed in his news conference last week.

“Wyoming has really held its own; Schools are open and sports are being played on Fridays and Saturdays,” Gordon said in the release. “We want to be careful to avoid going backwards and losing the high ground we hold. Steady progress beats the alternative, which would be devastating to our businesses, our schools and our citizens.”

Restrictions on gatherings have been slowly eased over time. Health officials have continuously evaluated the easing of those restrictions and the resulting impact.

There were minimal issues identified as a result of outdoor contact sports resuming under the rules in August, Gordon said. Health officials will continue to take specific, measured steps in the easing of orders, as conditions warrant.

Health orders continue to allow outdoor gatherings of no more than 50% of a venue’s capacity, up to 1,000 people, as long as social distancing and increased sanitization measures are in place.

Indoor gatherings in a confined space remain limited to 50 persons without restrictions and 250 persons if social distancing and sanitization measures are incorporated.

The governor and state health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist noted that the procedures implemented by school districts across the state have been largely successful in limiting the spread of the virus.

Protocols including social distancing and mask usage by staff and students have been effective in preventing widespread outbreaks.

To date, no school buildings in Wyoming have been required to close.

Over the past 14 days, Wyoming has averaged approximately 31 new laboratory-confirmed cases per day, and the percent of COVID-19 tests with a positive result is 2.1.

As of September 15, Wyoming has recorded 3,762 lab-confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, 676 probable cases and 46 deaths. Nearly 138,000 tests have been completed by the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory and commercial reference laboratories.

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