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36 New Wyoming Coronavirus Cases On Sunday; 611 Active Overall

in Coronavirus/News
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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 total number of active coronavirus cases in the state climbed to 611 on Sunday as the total number of confirmed cases seen in Wyoming since the disease was first detected here grew to 2,333.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, said 13 counties reported 36 new confirmed cases, while the number of probable cases went up by three to total 475.

New confirmed cases were reported Sunday in Albany, Big Horn, Campbell, Fremont, Goshen, Laramie, Lincoln, Natrona, Sheridan, Sublette, Sweetwater, Teton and Uinta counties. Laramie County saw the biggest increase with seven new cases.

At the same time, 20 recoveries were noted across the state Sunday to bring the total number of people who have recovered from laboratory-confirmed and probable cases to 2,173.

The numbers boosted the total of active cases seen in the state to 611, an increase of 22 from Saturday.

Laramie County had 129 cases; Fremont had 99; Teton had 63; Carbon had 50; Uinta had 45; Park had 43; Albany had 33; Sweetwater had 30; Natrona had 25; Lincoln and Sheridan had 24; Campbell had 18; Sublette had 11; Goshen had five; Big Horn and Washakie had four; Converse had two, and Hot Springs and Weston had one.

Crook, Johnson, Niobrara and Platte counties had 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, 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 active cases were divided among 510 people with confirmed cases and 101 with probable cases.

Recoveries since the pandemic began have been divided among 1,799 people with confirmed cases and 374 with probable cases.

Probable cases are defined as those where a patient has coronavirus symptoms and has been in contact with a person with a confirmed case, but has not been tested for the illness.

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58 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming, Active Cases Grow To 597

in Coronavirus/News
5511

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.

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Fourteen Wyoming counties reported new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the number of people infected with the illness since it was first detected in Wyoming to 2,686.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, said 45 new laboratory-confirmed cases and 13 probable cases were reported Thursday.

The new laboratory-confirmed cases were reported in Albany, Campbell, Fremont, Hot Springs, Laramie, Lincoln, Natrona, Park, Sheridan, Sublette, Sweetwater, Teton, Uinta and Washakie counties. Teton County saw the largest increase with 13 new cases.

Meanwhile, the number of patients to recover since the pandemic began grew by 13, bringing the number of active cases in the state to 597, an increase of 15 from Wednesday.

Laramie County had 117 active cases, Fremont County had 94; Teton County had 56; Carbon had 47; Park had 43; Sweetwater had 39; Uinta had 37; Natrona had 34; Lincoln had 31; Albany had 30; Campbell and Sheridan had 19; Sublette had 16; Goshen and Hot Springs had four; Big Horn had three, and Converse, Platte, Washakie and Weston had one. Crook, Johnson and Niobrara had no active cases.

Among the active cases, 490 were in patients with laboratory-confirmed coronavirus and 107 were in patients 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 growth in laboratory-confirmed cases brought to 2,217 the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases seen since the pandemic began in March.

The number of probable cases, meanwhile, now totals 469. A probable case is defined as one 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.

Of the 2,686 patients with confirmed or probable cases, 2,065 have recovered since March, according to the Department of Health. Of those recoveries, 1,703 have been in patients with confirmed cases and the remaining 362 have been seen in patients with probable cases.

A recovery is defined as when a patient goes for three days without a temperature and has seen improvement in respiratory problems.

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Dubois’ $100 Million National Military Museum To Open On August 7

in arts and culture/Business/Coronavirus/News
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By Bill Sniffin, Cowboy State Daily

The gigantic new National Museum of Military Vehicles will finally open on Aug. 7.

The museum, located just south of Dubois, originally planned to open in May but was postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“We are opening the museum Friday, Aug. 7, at 10 a.m.,” founder Dan Starks said. “Admission will be free for the first three days. After that normal admission of $15 will be charged, except for veterans, who will get in free.” Under 18 is $10 admission with under 8 years old getting in for free.

“Face masks and social distancing is required so we can keep all of our older veterans safe,” he said. “We will still be working on finishing some of the exhibits but we have gotten tired of turning everyone away who wants to come inside. We are staffing up and training for the opening.”

The $100 million self-funded project has been a dream of Starks, who bought his first Wyoming property in 2011.

Construction on the new museum started in May of 2017. It is a 140,000 square foot facility, which is designed to hold 200 military vehicles.

But it is much more than a display of vehicles.



Starks is not a veteran but said he has such a high degree of respect for those who served, he sees this project as his life work.

He worked 32 years at a medical equipment company in Minneapolis and was CEO before retiring in 2017. The company was doing $6 billion in revenue per year. He had 28,000 employees working on life-saving devices for the human body, specializing in heart catheters and other devices.

“At one time, we figured our devices were saving a life every three seconds around the world,” he says.

His company was acquired by Abbott Laboratories in 2017. Their web site shows Starks owns over $600 million in stock in the big international company and serves on its board.

The life dream of Dan and his wife Cynthia was to settle in Dubois and do some project to recognize the service of America’s veterans.  

And boy, is this ever some project.

Using Richardson Construction of Cheyenne as a general contractor, the project has hummed along on schedule.  And although the gigantic size of the facility, (you can almost put three football fields inside its walls), Starks now worries that it might be too small. 

They own more than 400 of the most pristine historical vehicles from World War II and other conflicts. He thinks he might only get 200 of them inside the walls. It is assumed to be the largest and best private collection in the world.  

The Starks’ daughter Alynne is the executive director of the facility. Admission will be $15 for adults and $10 for visitors under 18.  Veterans will be admitted for free. The museum will employ 20 people. 

Their plan for the museum has gone far beyond just a place to display vehicles. “We want to create displays that show the landing at Normandy, the surrenders in Germany and Japan, the Battle of the Bulge, and other great moments in our country’s military history,” he says. 

Dan sees the facility having three components:

  • To honor the service and sacrifice of millions of Americans.
  • Preserve the history of what happened during these wars.
  • Provide an educational experience. 

The vast array of vehicles goes beyond the killing machines of tanks, artillery, and flamethrowers.  It also includes dozens of the machines that made the wars winnable. 

Starks likes to discuss how the Red Ball Express helped secure the victories. This was the supply chain that seemed to provide endless amounts of food, ammo, and war machines as Allied troops marched toward victory.

He wants to show how America was able to convert its massive manufacturing expertise to enable the Allies to fight two different wars in different parts of the world and win both in just three and a half years.  

The new museum will show how the American ability to mass-produce cars and trucks was converted to produce tanks, jeeps, airplanes, and other war machines in record amounts that just wore down the enemy.  

“Germany built beautiful machines, but they did not understand mass production like Americans did. It was impossible for them to keep up when it came to replacing and resupplying their troops at key moments in World War II. We want to honor everyone who participated in this great victory. This museum will showcase that effort but showing the machines that were built and how they were utilized,” he said. 

Near the middle of the building’s interior is an amazing vault, unlike anything west of the Smithsonian. It will hold his $10 million collection of historical weapons, including a rifle fired at Custer’s Last Stand and a pistol used by General Pershing in World War I.

The collection includes 270 Winchester rifles. The vault has a safe door that would look just right at the national mint. 

The facility will have meeting rooms and members of the Wyoming legislature are convening there in October.

It also has the Chance Phelps Theatre, named for the brave Dubois Marine who died April 9, 2004 in Iraq.  The movie Taking Chance was about that soldier.

There will be large library with one of the world’s largest collections of manuals and other information about military vehicles.

There is even a Russian-built MiG 21 that was used in the Vietnam War against American soldiers. It is flyable.  

Besides the main museum facility, the Starks built a large building just off Main Street in Dubois to hold many of their vehicles and to be a shop to keep them running. 

Eight years ago, their first home in Dubois was an old homestead. More recently they have purchased a 250-head cattle ranch. Recently they bought a third ranch, which now has 64 bison grazing on it. 

“We love Dubois and we love Wyoming. This is our great adventure,” Starks concluded. 

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Gordon Announces Applications for $225 Million In Business Relief Funding Open On August 4

in Coronavirus/News
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. –  Governor Mark Gordon announced that applications for the next two waves of funding under the COVID-19 Business Relief Program will open to Wyoming businesses and nonprofits at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, August 4. 

The Relief Fund and Mitigation Fund make an additional $225 million available to Wyoming businesses and nonprofits that have experienced hardship related to the COVID-19 crisis. Visit wyobizrelief.org Tuesday after 10 a.m. to apply. 

“This much-needed funding is a lifeline to businesses and nonprofits hurt by COVID-19, and vital to our efforts to support Wyoming’s economy and our communities,” Governor Gordon said. The Governor signed the emergency rules for both programs on July 27.

“It’s tough to gauge the demand and frequency of applications prior to the launch of these two programs, so now is a good time for businesses and nonprofits to familiarize themselves with all of the helpful tools and information at wyobizrelief.org if they haven’t already done so,” Wyoming Business Council CEO Josh Dorrell said.

“There are FAQs, live and recorded informational webinar opportunities, and a grant calculator graphic you can work on with your lender or accountant in order to submit a solid application as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Dorrell said.

The Relief Fund has $50 million set aside for businesses and nonprofits required to close by public health orders and an additional $125 million available to cover COVID-19 related expenses and direct or indirect losses due to public health orders.

Grants of up to $300,000 are available and businesses must employ 100 or fewer people. Eligible nonprofits include 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6), 501(c)(12) and 501(c)(19) with at least one paid full-time employee and no more than 50 percent of time spent on lobbying. 

The Mitigation Fund reimburses all Wyoming businesses and nonprofits that have incurred employee and customer health and safety expenses that were a direct impact of COVID-19. The Mitigation Fund has $50 million available with grants of up to $500,000.

Currently, half of these funds are available for businesses and nonprofits that have already incurred COVID-19 related losses or expenses. The remaining funds will be dispersed at a later date to ensure funding is available to assist entities that anticipate losses and expenses later in the year.

ABOUT THE COVID-19 BUSINESS RELIEF PROGRAM

In May 2020, the Wyoming Legislature created three programs to distribute $325 million in federal CARES Act funding to Wyoming businesses and nonprofits that have experienced hardship related to the COVID-19 crisis.

The Wyoming Business Council is distributing these dollars through the COVID-19 Business Relief Program, which has been broken down into three funds – the Interruption Fund, the Relief Fund, and the Mitigation Fund. Go to wyobizrelief.org to stay informed about program details and to register to receive Business Council news releases.

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39 New Coronavirus Cases in Wyoming; 582 Total Active

in Coronavirus/News
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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s total of active coronavirus cases fell by 13 on Wednesday as the number of recoveries exceeded the number of new cases seen around the state.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, said 39 new coronavirus cases, both laboratory-confirmed and probable, were reported Wednesday, while doctors recorded a total of 52 recoveries during the day.

The numbers brought the total number of active cases to 582, including 485 among patients with laboratory-confirmed cases and 97 with probable cases.

Laramie County had the highest number of active cases at 113; Fremont County had 89; Teton County had 59; Carbon had 47; Sweetwater had 44; Park had 41; Uinta had 40; Lincoln and Natrona had 33; Albany had 28; Campbell had 19; Sublette had 15; Sheridan had eight; Goshen had four; Big Horn and Hot Springs had three, and Converse, Platte and Weston had one.

Crook, Johnson, Niobrara and Washakie counties had 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, 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 39 new infections included 36 laboratory-confirmed cases and three probable cases. A probable case is defined as one where the patient has coronavirus symptoms and has been in contact with a person with a confirmed case but has not been tested.

The new laboratory-confirmed cases came from 13 counties: Albany, Big Horn, Campbell, Carbon, Fremont, Goshen, Laramie, Lincoln, Natrona, Park, Sweetwater, Teton and Uinta. Laramie County saw the biggest increase at nine.

The increase brought the number of people infected with coronavirus since the pandemic began to 2,628, including 2,172 laboratory-confirmed cases and 456 probable cases.

The number of people to recover from the illness since mid-March, 2,022, includes 1,663 patients with laboratory-confirmed cases and 359 with probable cases.

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Officials: Wyoming High School Sports Will Begin As Scheduled

in Coronavirus/News/sports
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

All of Wyoming’s fall high school sports will begin as they were originally scheduled, officials have announced.

The Wyoming High School Activities Association announced in a release Tuesday that thanks to a collaboration with the Wyoming Department of Health and the Wyoming Department of Education, new guidelines have been implemented to allow a return of the six sports offered in the fall.

“We are excited for our students,” WHSAA Commissioner Ron Laird said in the release. “We appreciate the WDH and WDE working with us to be able to approve a plan we all believe can safely return our students to their sport. This is a great example of how working together will allow our students to continue to enhance their educational experience. We know the mental and emotional issues those students experienced last spring when track and soccer were cancelled.” 

Practices are slated to begin Aug. 10 for 4A football, golf and tennis. On Aug. 17, practice will begin for cross country, class 1A, 2A and 3A football, girls’ swimming and diving and volleyball.

The WHSAA board will provide further guidance to the schools concerning the six sports to assist them in their efforts to guarantee social distancing for each sport. Reducing the total number of competitors at each event will be a priority.

Adjustments to reduce event numbers will also be considered.

“I cannot overstate the importance of allowing students to safely participate in activities this fall,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said in the release. “Activities are essential to the physical, emotional, and social well being of our children and fundamental to our mission in K-12 education of building character and necessary skills in our youth. My staff, the WHSAA, and the Wyoming Department of Health have diligently created a framework for activities that schools and communities can use this fall. It will take all of us, including parents and the students, doing our part to make this fall successful.” 

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One Unexpected (And Stupid) Result From the Coronavirus: More Smoking

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Perhaps the stupidest development to result from the coronavirus a smoking resurgence in the country.

Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal reports that although the national smoking rate hasn’t increased, the decrease in cigarette sales have slowed from a projected decline of 4% to 6% to a decline estimated at 2% to 3.5%.

The reason, according to the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, is a combination of fewer opportunities for people to congregate outside the home and the arrival of government stimulus checks.

“Fewer social engagements allow for more tobacco-use occasions,” said Altria Chief Executive Billy Gifford on an earnings call Tuesday.

More tobacco-use occasions cost money.  In Wyoming, smoking-caused health care costs $258 million per year and smoking-caused losses in productivity cost $202.4 million per year.

The news that some recipients of government stimulus checks are spending the money on cigarettes could be depressing for many reasons.

One, people would use stimulus checks for cigarettes. Two, smoking is bad for your health. Three, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness.

The University of Maryland Medical System reports that smoking not only increases your risk for complications if you get the virus, it can also make you more likely to contract the disease in the first place.

“The Centers for Disease Control categorizes smokers as “immunocompromised,” which means having a weakened immune system,” they write. 

“This puts smokers in the same group as those receiving cancer treatments or who have HIV. The CDC cautions that people who are immunocompromised are at risk to get more severe COVID-19 symptoms,” they said.

In 2017, 18.7% of adults in Wyoming smoked. Nationally, the rate was 17.1%.

In 2017, 5.7% of adults in Wyoming used e-cigarettes and 9.1% used smokeless tobacco.

In 2015 (the latest data available), 29.6% of high school students in Wyoming used electronic vapor products on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 24.1%.

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Gordon: If You Want To Kill Wyoming’s Economy, Don’t Wear A Mask

in Coronavirus/News
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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

As the state recorded its highest single-day increase in confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began in March, Gov. Mark Gordon on Tuesday renewed his call for residents to take safeguards to prevent the spread of the illness and avoid restrictions on business.

“I’m glad we’re in a region where we’ve had relatively few cases and we’ve done it with open economies,” he said during a news conference. “We’re trying to make sure we find that right balance that doesn’t impinge on people. But make no mistake, this economy can be closed if people are careless.”

The state recorded its 26th coronavirus-related death Tuesday as the number of laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 64, the largest jump seen since the illness was first detected in Wyoming in mid-March. The increase brought to 595 the number of active cases in the state.

In the face of a steady increase in cases — averaging 37 new cases a day for the last two weeks — Gordon and Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state’s public health officer, extended for another two weeks the public health orders that restrict the number of people who can gather at large events and require extra precautionary steps on the part of businesses where people gather.

Gordon said with schools across the state preparing to reopen for the fall, state residents need to be careful to make sure the proper steps are taken to prevent the spread of the illness among students, which could force an economic slowdown as parents take time off to care for their children.

“I hope every Wyoming citizen and every Wyoming parent and every Wyoming student pays attention to the kind of responsible behavior we’ve talked about from the very start,” he said. “We’re at a very tender time in Wyoming.”

Gordon singled out those who are opposed to wearing facemasks to prevent the spread of the virus.

“If you’re dead set on taking down Wyoming’s economy, don’t wear one of these,” he said, indicating his own mask. “These are the things that are going to keep us open and they will keep us moving forward.

“We aren’t going to issue a statewide mask order in any of these new orders,” he continued. “We want to make sure the people of Wyoming take on the responsibilities themselves.”

Gordon used the news conference to give an update on how the state is distributing $1.25 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds, saying two programs aimed at helping businesses damaged by the pandemic will launch next week.

In addition, the state is working to set up a system for the distribution of funds to local governments to help them offset the impacts of coronavirus and to better prepare for future health crises.

“We are streamlining and improving that process to make sure that grant process works more efficiently,” he said. 

He added officials are also looking at setting aside some money for the state’s agriculture sector to help them offset price declines seen since the pandemic began.

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Wyoming Sees Largest Increase in Coronavirus Cases with 64

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The number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming grew by 13 on Tuesday to total 595, according to Wyoming Department of Health figures.

The department, in its daily coronavirus release, said the state on Tuesday saw its largest increase in new laboratory cases since the pandemic began — 64.

With another five new probable cases reported, the increase boosted the number of active cases to 595 despite an increase of 55 in the number of recoveries seen since the pandemic began.

Laramie County had the highest number of active cases at 109; Fremont County had 88; Teton County had 81; Carbon County had 46; Sweetwater County had 45; Uinta had 42; Park had 40; Natrona had 33; Lincoln had 31; Albany had 26; Campbell had 19; Sublette had 15; Sheridan had seven; Hot Springs and Washakie had three; Big Horn and Goshen had two, and Converse, Platte and Weston counties had one.

Crook, Johnson and Niobrara counties had no active cases.

The number of active cases included 497 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.

New cases were reported Tuesday in Albany, Campbell, Carbon, Fremont, Goshen, Laramie, Lincoln, Natrona, Park, Sheridan, Sweetwater, Teton and Uinta counties, with Teton County recording the highest increase for the day at 18.

The growth brought to 2,136 the number of laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases seen since the illness was first detected in Wyoming, while the number of probable cases seen since March grew by five to total 453.

A probable case is one where a patient has coronavirus symptoms and has been in contact with someone with a confirmed case, but has not been tested.

The number of recoveries seen since March among the 2,589 patients with confirmed or probable cases also went up Tuesday, growing by 55 to total 1,970. That included 1,615 recoveries among patients with confirmed cases and 355 recoveries among those with probable cases.

A recovery is considered to have occurred when a patient has gone for three days without a temperature and has seen improvement in respiratory problems.

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Wyoming Budget Shortfall Improves to Negative $1.4 Billion

in Coronavirus/Economy/News
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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

An update of a report projecting revenues for the state will show a slight improvement over earlier predictions, Gov. Mark Gordon said Tuesday.

However, Gordon, speaking during a news conference, said the numbers to be presented in the latest report from the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group will still paint a gloomy picture for the operation of state agencies.

“While it’s improved and while we’re very happy about the improvement, we also face significant challenges going forward,” he said. “Virtually every part of Wyoming is still going to have to look at what they’re going to have to do to meet this budget shortfall.

In May, the CREG, a group of state financial officers, estimated the state’s revenue for the coming two years would fall up to $1.5 billion short of what is needed to pay for the state’s biennium budget approved by the Legislature in March.

Gordon said the latest report, to be released in the next few days, will show that shortfall dropping by about $100 million.

“It’s not back to what we were hoping for, but it’s an improvement,” he said.

However, Gordon noted the shortfall is still large enough to equal or exceed the budget of entire state departments.

“If we eliminated all of (the Wyoming Department of Transportation), if there was no snowplowing, no road construction, no highway patrol, we wouldn’t have dented that,” he said. “If we cut our education general fund in half, we would barely touch that deficit that we’re having to deal with.”

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