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357 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Thursday; 488 Recoveries; 3,033 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus increased by 49 on Thursday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 488 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 357 new laboratory-confirmed and 180 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 3,033 active cases for Thursday.

Twelve counties had more than 100 active cases, with four having more than 200. 

Natrona County had 554; Laramie 430; Fremont 247; Sheridan 266; Campbell 173; Uinta 167; Sweetwater 161; Albany 141; Park 121; Goshen 117; Carbon 105; Lincoln 99; Weston 91; Washakie 63; Teton 60; Converse 54; Crook 45; Platte 44; Niobrara 33; Johnson 32; Big Horn 31; Sublette had 28, while Hot Springs reported 11 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 104,940 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 100,664 have recovered.

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180 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Tuesday; 293 Recoveries; 2,614 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case count increased by five on Tuesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 293 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 180 new laboratory-confirmed and 187 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 2,614 active cases for Tuesday.

Eleven counties had more than 100 active cases, with three having more than 200. Natrona County had 469; Laramie 350; Fremont 223; Sheridan 187; Campbell 172; Uinta 154; Albany and Sweetwater 131; Goshen 113; Park 103; Lincoln 90; Carbon 84; Weston 75; Converse 59; Teton 55; Washakie 51; Platte 40; Crook 36; Sublette 25; Johnson 22; Big Horn 20; Niobrara had 17, while Hot Springs reported seven 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 103,989 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 100,132 have recovered.

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69 More Covid-Related Deaths in Wyoming, Health Department Says

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The number of deaths among Wyoming residents related to the coronavirus climbed to 1,243 on Tuesday, the Wyoming Department of Health reported.

The department announced that 69 more deaths among Wyoming residents between August and the end of October had been linked to the coronavirus, bringing the fatality toll to 1,243 since the illness was first reported in March 2020.

Thirteen Sweetwater County residents, nine men and four women, died in September and October, the department said, and nine were hospitalized for the treatment of coronavirus.

Ten Natrona County residents, six men and four women, died in October, while nine Park County residents, seven men and two women, also died. Eight Laramie County residents, six men and two women, were also among the victims.

The victims also included six Converse County residents, four men and two women, five Campbell County residents, four men and one woman, and four Carbon County residents, all men.

The deaths of four Fremont County residents, three women and one men, were also linked to the illness.

Other victims included two Albany County men and one woman, a Big Horn County man, a Goshen County man, a Lincoln County man and woman, a Sheridan County man and two Sublette County men.

The announcement came as the Department of Health reported that active coronavirus cases in Wyoming remained relatively stable Tuesday, growing by five to total 2,614.

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Lummis Introduces Bill Preventing Workers From Being Fired Due To Vaccine Mandate

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis on Monday joined fellow legislators in introducing a bill that would prevent essential workers from being fired if they refuse to comply with a proposed federal vaccine mandate.

Lummis joined U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, and other colleagues to introduce the Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act on Monday.

“From the earliest days of the pandemic, our frontline workers and first responders in Wyoming put themselves in harm’s way to respond to emergencies, to keep essential goods stocked and to care for the sick in our communities,” Lummis said. “We should be celebrating their heroism, not punishing them for exercising their individual health freedoms. I’m proud to defend their rights and fight the Biden administration’s mandate.”

The administration has proposed requiring coronavirus vaccines for federal employees, health care workers and employees at companies employing more than 100 people. The federal rules that would put the mandate in place have not yet been issued.

Under the bill proposed by Lummis and others, essential workers who would be protected from being fired if they were unwilling or unable to get the vaccine would be the same people deemed as providing essential services by states during the pandemic. This would include people who work in health care and at businesses such as grocery stores, airlines and trucking companies.

Lummis and the other senators expressed concern that the new vaccine mandate would mean more job openings, at a time when the U.S. has already recorded more than 10 million open jobs in August.

Wyoming has not escaped the employment crisis, with reports coming out this year that the state has seen a shortage of snowplow drivers, restaurant employees and workers in other fields.

“(Workers in) Wyoming and across the nation are under threat of losing their jobs if they choose not to take the COVID vaccine,” said a release from Lummis’ office. “While these vaccines have proven to be safe and effective, the decision to get vaccinated is a personal one. People in Wyoming – especially the essential workers who showed up to work every day during the worst days of the pandemic – should not be forced into vaccination under the threat of losing their job.” 

The state’s unemployment rate has dropped this year, but it’s more due to people leaving the job force than getting jobs.

Ty Stockton, with the Workforce Service Office in Cheyenne, previously said there isn’t really a way to find out why people are not going back to work, since his office only sees people who are actively looking for employment.

Lummis joined Blackburn and Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, Bill Hagerty, R-Tennessee, Mike Braun, R-Indiana, Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, and Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, in introducing the legislation this week.

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528 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Monday; 1,217 Recoveries; 2,609 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case count decreased by 521 over the weekend. 

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 1,217 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases between Friday and Monday. 

At the same time, the state reported 528 new laboratory-confirmed and 171 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 2,609 active cases for Monday.

Twelve counties have more than than 100 active cases, with three having more than 200. Natrona county had 470 Laramie 343; Fremont 229; Campbell 166; Sheridan and Uinta 162; Sweetwater 145;  Albany 130; Park 112; Goshen 107; Carbon 96; Lincoln 81; Weston 76; Teton 61; Converse 57; Washakie 52; Platte 34; Crook and Sublette 29; Johnson 25; Niobrara 18; Big Horn had 16, while Hot Springs reported nine 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 103,622 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 99,839 have recovered.

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400 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Friday; 698 Recoveries; 3,130 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case count decreased by 175 to end the week. 

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 698 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases on Friday. 

At the same time, the state reported 400 new laboratory-confirmed and 123 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 3,130 active cases.

Thirteen counties now have more than 100 active cases, with four having more than 200. Natrona County had 573 Laramie 391; Fremont 287; Sheridan 224; Campbell 193; Uinta 173; Sweetwater 169; Park 142; Albany 132; Carbon 130; Goshen 129; Lincoln 103; Weston 89; Teton and Washakie 79; Converse 61;Sublette 37; Crook and Johnson 29; Platte 27; Big Horn 21; Niobrara had 20; while Hot Springs reported 13 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 102,926 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 98,622 have recovered.

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Wyoming Democrats Fail To Introduce Bill To Create COVID Impact Program

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Democrat leaders in Wyoming’s Legislature on Friday unsuccessfully proposed new legislation that would create a COVID impact support program using American Rescue Plan funds, legislators announced.

House Bill 1021, offered four days into a special legislative session designed to chart Wyoming’s response to a proposed federal coronavirus madate, would have created a program using ARP funds to provide monetary support for food, medicine, child care, mental health support and lost wages for people and families suffering from COVID impacts.

The bill’s introduction was defeated on a vote of 11-45.

One of the bill’s cosponsors, Rep. Karlee Provenza, D-Laramie, urged legislators to change their rules to allow introduction of the bill because of the hardships experienced by Wyoming residents because of the coronavirus.

“We’ve heard from our constituents that they have struggled tremendously in trying to access basic necessities,” she said. “If COVID relief funding isn’t meant to ensure that those with COVID are able to access food, proper medical care, and resources while missing work to recover, then I don’t know what it’s meant for.”

But opponents to the bill pointed out it was offered very late in the special session. Under the session’s rules, legislation was to be filed five days before the session began.

In addition, several opponents criticized the program that would be established by the bill.

“”We’re distributing literally hundreds and hundreds of millions of (federal) dollars,” said Rep. Evan Simpson, R-Afton. “One of the criticisms I hear from my constituency is we’ve been too liberal and we’re actually encouraging people to stay home.”

The program would have been administered through the Wyoming Department of Family Services in coordination with existing social service programs (in an effort to prevent duplication of services), the legislators explained, and it is designed to provide a hand up for those quarantined or recovering from COVID who lack access to basic services.

Benefits under the program shall be initiated by boards of county commissioners who may request increased support to individuals and families suffering from the impacts of COVID-19. 

If the bill passes, $20 million from American Rescue Plan funds will be provided the Wyoming Department of Family Services to distribute.

“Whether an individual without a support system nearby to help with meals, or a family with lost wages who is deciding between rent and medication, this program is meant to alleviate the unnecessary suffering felt by our Wyoming friends and neighbors,” said Rep. Trey Sherwood, D-Laramie.

Rep. Mike Yin, D-Jackson, told Cowboy State Daily that the lawmakers were able to introduce new legislation on Friday due to the legislature working under the 66th legislature’s normal rules.

“Even during a budget session, you can file a bill on the last day of the schedule,” Yin told Cowboy Stae Daily. “We do have some introduction limits based on House Rule 4-5, where we’d need a 2/3 vote to introduce a bill after the 15th legislative day, however, we’re not anywhere near that date”

This is the first new legislation introduced since the special session began on Tuesday, as the deadline for bills was set five days before the session started.

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347 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Thursday; 545 Recoveries; 3,305 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by 54 on Thursday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 545 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state received reports of 347 new laboratory-confirmed and 144 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 3,305 active cases for Thursday.

Twelve counties now have more than 100 active cases, with four having more than 200. 

Natrona County had 584 Laramie 377; Fremont 336; Sheridan 236; Campbell 192; Goshen 189; Carbon 181; Uinta 164; Park 158; Sweetwater 154; Albany 134; Lincoln 97; Weston 96; Washakie 84; Teton 76; Converse 56; Sublette 38; Platte 36; Crook 33; Johnson 26; Niobrara 24; Big Horn had 22, while Hot Springs reported 12 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 102,403 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 97,924 have recovered.

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Wyoming House Committee Hears Passionate Testimonies From Banner Health Employees

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Health care workers are being questioned by their employers about their decisions regarding the coronavirus vaccine, several told legislators on Tuesday.

Two employees from the Washakie Medical Center, a Worland facility owned by Banner Health, shared their experiences with members of the House Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee who were reviewing three bills proposed for consideration during the Legislature’s special session on federal coronavirus mandates.

Jacob Power, a Washakie Medical Center X-ray technologist in Worland, told the legislators about being called into his manager’s office multiple times to be questioned about whether or not he would get a COVID vaccine.

“I simply told them at that point in time that they do not have the right to ask me that, as that is my personal decision,” Power said. “The people that are working above me, they have no right to look into my medical record without my permission, but that’s exactly what’s happening.”

Later, he told his bosses that he would seek an exemption from receiving the vaccine, but that his employers did not have the right to question him about his decision.

The special session is being held to chart Wyoming’s response to the vaccination mandate proposed by the administration of President Joe Biden. Under the mandate, which has not yet taken effect, federal employees, health care workers and employees at companies employing more than 100 people would have to get the vaccine or be tested for coronavirus weekly.

The committee was studying three of six bills proposed regarding the mandate. One would prohibit employers from requiring COVID vaccination as a condition of employment, unless certain conditions are met. Another would require employers to grant exemptions from the mandate requested by employees and the third would require severance pay for employees who are fired or quit because of the mandate.

Banner Health, one of the largest U.S. health system employers, is requiring its employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus by Nov. 1 to keep their jobs. The organization announced this mandate in July.

Banner Health operates multiple health care facilities in Wyoming, including the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper and clinics in Torrington, Wheatland, Guernsey, Douglas, Worland and more.

No other Wyoming-owned hospitals or health care systems in the state have implemented a vaccine mandate, although some, such as Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, have created incentive programs for employees who do get vaccinated.

Banner officials said the company is implementing the requirement for several reasons, including the rise of the Delta variant of coronavirus, the need to protect its patients and workforce and to prepare for flu season.

Lorena Stewart, another Washakie Medical Center employee, told the legislators that she had requested a religious exemption from the vaccine, but it was denied. This was the first time in her 17 years of working at the medical center where she has been denied a vaccine exemption. she said.

“I’ve been a born-again Christian since the age of 8,” she said. “I think everybody was shocked when my request got denied. They want us to jump through these hoops, they didn’t want to make it easy.”

Stewart said that up until the last couple of months, she has loved working for Banner Health, but the vaccine mandate has completely changed the atmosphere.

Mary Lynee Shickich spoke as a representative for Banner Health in Wyoming and noted that of Banner’s 1,629 employees in Wyoming, about 160 had not yet received a COVID vaccine. However, she noted that there were processes in place to keep those employees on until the end of November.

Lance Porter, CEO of the Wyoming Medical Center, stated that the company is implementing the mandate due to the fact that the hospital is a resource that the community relies on to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“We have the obligation to make sure we can staff the beds and make sure we have providers to provide the care that is needed,” Porter said. “I guarantee you that anybody who works in health care got into it to help other people. Regardless of where you fall on the vaccine mandate, we want to help people.”

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210 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Tuesday; 460 Recoveries; 2,940 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus decreased by 144 on Tuesday. 

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports Tuesday of 460 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 210 new laboratory-confirmed and 131 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 2,940 active cases for Tuesday.

Eleven counties have more than 100 active cases and four have more than 200. 

Natrona County had 517; Laramie 323; Fremont 311; Sheridan 215; Campbell 197; Goshen and Uinta 166; Carbon 147; Sweetwater 140; Park 125; Albany 124; Lincoln 84; Teton 77; Washakie 75; Weston 46; Converse and Platte 39; Crook 34; Sublette 33; Big Horn 27; Johnson 26; Niobrara had 17, while Hot Springs reported 12 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 101,424 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 97,310 have recovered. 

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