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Teton County, Jackson Issue ‘Stay At Home’ Orders

in News/Coronavirus
3724

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 News/Coronavirus
Courtesy Glenn Woods screengrab
3722

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 News/Coronavirus
3715

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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Natrona County Coronavirus Case Brings State Total To 87

in News/Coronavirus
3713

Wyoming’s coronavirus case count stood at 87 on Monday morning with the discovery of a new Natrona County case on Sunday night.

The Wyoming Department of Health reported Sunday that the diagnosis marked the ninth case for Natrona County.

As of Monday morning, Fremont County remained the hardest hit in the state with 23 cases. Laramie County had 19, Teton County had 14, Natrona had nine, Sheridan had six, Johnson had five and Carbon County had three.

Albany, Campbell, Converse, Goshen, Park, Sublette, Sweetwater and Washakie had one case each.

In the face of the growing number of cases in Teton County, the Jackson Town Council on Saturday adopted an emergency “stay at home” order.

The order directs everyone in Jackson to stay in their homes except to obtain supplies or take part in outdoor activity.

Wyoming Up to 86 Cases of Coronavirus; Two New Cases in Fremont County

in News/Coronavirus
3710

Wyoming’s coronavirus case count rose to 86 on Sunday with the diagnosis of two new cases in Fremont County.

Sunday morning’s count as reported by the Wyoming Department of Health brought Fremont County’s total number of cases to 23, the highest in the state.

However, the state Health Department also reported that at least two more coronavirus patients have recovered from the illness, bringing the number of recovered patients to 20 statewide.

Fremont County officials have said that based on polls of doctors, nurses and other health care providers, they are estimating that more than 400 residents in Lander, Riverton, Ethete, Fort Washakie, Shoshone and Dubois have been advised to self-isolate.

“The disease is active in the community,” said a statement from the Fremont County Incident Management Team.

The statement also said 19 of the county’s cases are related to the appearance of the virus in a Lander retirement home.

As of Sunday morning, the state’s case count stood at 23 in Fremont County, 19 in Laramie County, 14 in Teton County, eight in Natrona, six in Sheridan, five in Johnson and three in Carbon. Albany, Campbell, Converse, Goshen, Park, Sublette, Sweetwater and Washakie counties each reported one case.

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

in News/Coronavirus
3678

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 News/Coronavirus
3664

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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New Coronavirus Cases Reported In Teton, Fremont Counties

in News/Coronavirus
3701

New coronavirus cases in Teton and Fremont counties brought the state’s total number of confirmed cases to 84 on Saturday.

 The Wyoming Department of Health reported Saturday afternoon that one new case had been diagnosed in each of the counties.

 The new count brings to 11 the new cases reported in Wyoming on Saturday.

 As of Saturday evening, the number of cases around the state stood at 21 in Fremont County, 19 in Laramie County, 14 in Teton County, eight in Natrona, and six in Sheridan. Johnson County had five cases and three cases were reported in Carbon County.

Albany, Campbell, Converse, Goshen, Park, Sublette, Sweetwater and Washakie counties each reported one case.

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Teton County Spokesperson: Governor Gordon is Failing Us

in News/Mark Gordon/Coronavirus
3674

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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Wyoming Coronavirus Count Up To 73; 18 Recoveries

in News/Coronavirus
3661

By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s coronavirus case count increased to 73 on Friday afternoon as new cases were diagnosed in Laramie and Teton counties.

The Wyoming Health Department said one new case was detected in Laramie County and two were found in Teton County.

Laramie County had 18 confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. Friday, while Fremont County had 17. Teton County had 12, Natrona County had eight, Sheridan County had five, Johnson County had four and Carbon had three. Albany, Campbell, Goshen, Park, Sweetwater and Washakie counties each had one case.

The Health Department also reported that 18 people have recovered since testing positive for the illness.

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