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Teton County Keeping Mask Order in Place Through Mid-April

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Teton County has been granted a variance to keep its mask mandate in place until at least mid-April, the county’s health department announced Friday.

Teton County health officer Dr. Travis Riddell requested a local health order to allow the county to keep its mask requirement in place until April 16, unless rescinded beforehand. The order was approved Friday.

Teton County’s mask order requires people 12 and older to wear a face covering when gathering in a public place or business where they are unable to socially distance.

The statewide mask mandate will be removed on Tuesday nearly three months after its implementation.

Gov. Mark Gordon said earlier this week that his decision to lift the public health orders in place for months reflected the state’s continually improving health metrics and was consistent with his approach of balancing public health with protecting livelihoods.

Wyoming has seen a declining number of active coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks, and has seen significant success in delivering the COVID-19 vaccine, with the state’s most vulnerable residents now having access to the shot, he said.

“I thank the people of Wyoming for their commitment to keeping one another safe throughout this pandemic,” Gordon said. “It is through their efforts that we have kept our schools and businesses operating and our economy moving forward. I ask all Wyoming citizens to continue to take personal responsibility for their actions and stay diligent as we look ahead to the warmer months and to the safe resumption of our traditional spring and summer activities.” 

As of Friday, Teton County had 86 active cases, the second-highest in the state behind Laramie County.

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38 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Friday; 487 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s active coronavirus cases decreased of 11 on Friday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received new reports of 62 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases.

At the same time, the state reported 38 new laboratory-confirmed and 10 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 487 active cases, down 11 from Thursday.

Laramie County reported an increase again, growing by nine to 116 active cases, while Teton had 86; Sweetwater 49; Natrona 44; Fremont 38; Uinta 27; Lincoln 25; Carbon 22; Campbell 18; Albany 14; Sheridan nine; Big Horn eight; Goshen seven; Park six; Platte and Weston four; Washakie three; Converse, Hot Springs, and Johnson report two each; Sublette had one, while Crook and Niobrara continued with zero active cases reported.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 11, 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 55,163 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020.

Of those, 53,985 have recovered.

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Report: COVID Infections, Deaths In Wyoming Nursing Homes Improving

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Coronavirus cases and deaths in nursing homes across Wyoming have been steadily declining, according to a recent report from AARP Wyoming.

The number of nursing home deaths per 100 residents in the state saw a substantial drop, going from 2.22 per 100 residents from the four-week period ending Jan. 17 to 0.76 from the four-week period ending Feb. 14.

The nursing home resident infection rate per 100 residents also dropped from 10.4 cases from the four-week period ending Jan. 17 to 3.6 from the four-week period ending Feb. 14.

“The nursing home dashboard numbers are showing improvement across the board and we are pleased to see that,” said AARP Wyoming State Director Sam Shumway. “We are now starting to return to levels of infection and death rates we haven’t seen since last fall. We are optimistic that those trends continue.”

The coronavirus death rate in Wyoming nursing homes is the lowest since the four-week period ending Nov. 18, when the death rate was 0.25 per 100 residents.

For the first four measured four-week periods of the AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard in 2021, there were no deaths in Wyoming nursing homes.

The death rate peaked at 2.95 deaths per 100 residents during the four-week period ending Nov. 15. That was one of the 10 highest ratios nationwide for a four-week period since AARP began reporting this information.

Other good news coming out of the latest dashboard snapshot included a large drop in coronavirus cases among nursing home staff, with the ratio dropping from 8.1 staff cases per 100 residents during the four-week period ending Jan. 17 to 3.8 staff cases per 100 residents in the latest four-week period ending Feb. 14.

The dashboard’s final two measures – percentage of facilities without at least a week’s worth of personal protective equipment (14%) and nursing homes with staffing shortages (25 %) both saw improvements as well over their previous snapshots and were at their lowest levels since last fall.

There have been 691 deaths among Wyoming residents since the pandemic began last March.

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Legislator Introduced Budget Amendment to Fire Wyoming Health Officer

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, introduced an amendment to the latest state budget bill this would that would have dismissed the Wyoming public health officer, but it was rejected by House members.

Gray introduced the amendment during the Wyoming House of Representatives’ second reading of the state’s supplemental budget bill Wednesday, but it was defeated in a voice vote.

“I’m bringing an amendment this afternoon to the budget to dismiss the state health officer,” Gray wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “The actions of the state health officer and the Governor’s office over the past year have been unconstitutional and wrong for Wyoming.”

The amendment would have defunded Dr. Alexia Harrist’s position as the state health officer and would have put her responsibilities on the director of the Wyoming Department of Health until at least September.

During the floor session, Gray explained to his colleagues that he has seen a “disturbing” pattern over the last year.

“The masking, the fear, it’s done tremendous damage to our state, to our economy, to our psyche,” Gray said.

He pointed to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who he called a brilliant leader and he said has become a “huge light” in the country by going against what was politically correct and what “the media was pushing.”

Gray added that the state wouldn’t be without a health officer for long, as the Senate has a bill that would allow the Legislature to confirm appointment to the position.

Rep. Bill Fortner, R-Gillette, agreed with his colleague about the amendment, but Rep. Lloyd Larsen, R-Lander, found the amendment “troubling.”

“This is probably one of the most troubling amendments that I’ve seen in a budget bill since I’ve been in the session,” he said. “In that it looks to be vindictive against an individual trying to do their job. My point is, if you were hired to be the state health officer, you’re going to do what you think is best.”

Larsen added he felt Harrist did what she thought was best for the state, despite taking abuse from legislators about what an “idiot” she was.

“Do we want to do the same thing for every state employee, because we don’t like the way they patch the road?” Larsen said. “This is not the way we do business in Wyoming.”

It wasn’t clear how many representatives voted for and against the amendment since it was a voice vote.

The Legislature has been considering at least five bills related to public health orders and the authority of state and county health officers in the wake of the pandemic.

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88 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Thursday; 498 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s active coronavirus cases increased by 23 on Thursday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received new reports of 75 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases.

At the same time, the state reported 88 new laboratory-confirmed and 10 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 489 active cases, Up 23 from Wednesday.

Laramie County reported an increase of 14 active cases to 107; Teton County had 85; Sweetwater had 59; Natrona 46; Fremont 40; Uinta 28; Lincoln 25; Carbon 21; Campbell 18; Sheridan 16; Albany 12; Goshen nine; Park and Platte six; Big Horn and Weston five; Washakie three; Converse, Hot Springs and Johnson report two each, and Sublette had one.

Crook joined Niobrara in reporting zero active cases Thursday

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 11, 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 55,112 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020.

Of those, 53,923 have recovered.

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37 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Wednesday; 475 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s active coronavirus cases increased by 21 on Wednesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received new reports of 21 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases.

At the same time, the state reported 37 new laboratory-confirmed and 5 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 475 active cases, up 21 from Tuesday.

Laramie County reported the highest number of active cases with 93; Teton County had 76; Sweetwater had 67; Natrona 50; Fremont 37; Lincoln 29; Uinta 25; Campbell 18; Sheridan 16; Carbon 13; Albany 10; Goshen and Park had eight; Platte seven; Big Horn four; Sublette and Washakie three; Converse, Hot Springs and Johnson had three each; Crook and Weston had one, and Niobrara continued to report zero cases.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 11, 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 55,014 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020.

Of those, 53,848 have recovered.

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A Year Of the Coronavirus: Wyoming Marks Anniversary of First Diagnosis

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Coronavirus Wyoming
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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s first year of the coronavirus began with words of caution and ended at almost the same time the bulk of the health orders designed to prevent the spread of the disease was lifted.

Since the first case of coronavirus was diagnosed in the state on March 11, 2020, the state has seen 691 deaths linked to the illness, but also almost 54,000 recoveries.

Business closures and restrictions added to the economic hardships created by slumps in the state’s fossil fuel industry and at one point the state saw an unemployment rate of 8.5%.

Public school closures across the state introduced students to the concept of virtual learning as teachers addressed their students by video.

While Wyoming remained one of the states with the fewest health-related restrictions in the nation through the spring and summer of 2020, that changed in the fall and winter as the number of active cases in the state skyrocketed from 3,266 on Oct. 24 to 11,861 one month later.

The increase prompted Gov. Mark Gordon and state Public Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist to impose a requirement that people wear face masks in public.

But after that peak, the numbers began to subside, falling below 1,000 by Feb. 6.

Now, with active cases at less than 500 and thousands of Wyoming residents receiving vaccinations against the illness, Gordon and Harrist have announced an end to the mask order, effective Monday, along with an end to the restrictions on bars, restaurants and other businesses where people tend to gather.

In his announcement that the mask order would be lifted, Gordon thanked Wyoming residents for observing health precautions that helped him avoid calling for more business closures during the peak of the active cases.

“I thank the people of Wyoming for their commitment to keeping one another safe throughout this pandemic,” he said. “It is through their efforts that we have kept our schools and businesses operating and our economy moving forward.

Below are some major dates connected with Wyoming’s first year of coronavirus:

March 11, 2020: Department of Health reports first diagnosed case of coronavirus. It is detected in a Sheridan County woman.

March 12, 2020: Natrona County’s health officer orders the closure of the Class 4A and 3A boys’ and girls’ basketball championships because of the coronavirus.

March 13, 2020: Governor declares a state of emergency, allowing the state to active the National Guard if necessary and allowing businesses to apply for assistance from the SBA.

March 16, 2020: UW moves to online undergraduate courses.

March 17, 2020: Wyoming Coronavirus Case Count Grows To 10

March 18, 2020: Visitations to inmates at Wyoming Department of Corrections institutions has been suspended, the DOC announced Wednesday.

March 19, 2020: Governor issues orders closing bars, fitness clubs, museums, coffee shops and other public spaces. Restaurants can continue to serve drive-through and curb service only.

March 21, 2020: Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney asks the Chinese government to “quit eating bats” in response to Chinese misinformation about the coronavirus.

March 23, 2020: Lander emergency room physician expresses concern that the hospital could get overwhelmed by the coronavirus.

March 24, 2020: Officials from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park announced they were closing the parks until further notice.

March 25, 2020: Devils Tower shuts down. The Park Service said the closure is due to a request of local public health officers from Crook County, WY.

March 25, 2020: Gov. Gordon tells Wyoming residents to stay home. “Your voluntary action and discipline will make the difference on whether we can slow the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

March 28, 2020: A Teton County spokesperson announced that Governor Gordon was failing the state.

March 30, 2020: Teton County, Jackson issue “stay at home” orders.

April 1, 2020: Conservative firebrand Rep. Scott Clem (R-Campbell County) urged Gov. Gordon — without success — to open schools.

April 1, 2020: Wyoming Medical Society president urged Gov. Gordon to take more drastic measures.

April 1, 2020: A national organization which measured movements by cell phone towers placed Wyoming last out of all states for social distancing. The group did improve the state’s score, however, from an F to and F+.

April 3, 2020: Gov. Mark Gordon issues order for out-of-state visitors to quarantine for 14 days after entering the state.

April 3, 2020: University of Wyoming cancels graduation ceremony and opts for an online ceremony instead.

April 6, 2020: A controversy erupted when it was discovered that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department sold 150 out-of-state fishing licenses over the weekend.

April 7, 2020: Health Department issues recommendation for people to wear face masks.

April 8, 2020: Gov. Mark Gordon announces Wyoming is moving closer to the end of the pandemic.

April 8, 2020: Gov. Mark Gordon asked the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to suspend the sale of short-term out-of-state fishing licenses to discourage travel into the state.

April 11, 2020: Wyoming churches pivot from in-person services to digital worship.

April 13, 2020: Department of Health announces first death in Wyoming tied to the coronavirus. Wyoming was the last state to have a virus-related death.

April 13, 2020: Wyoming citizens follow the national trend of howling at the moon as a way to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

April 14, 2020: A team of employees from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was deployed to Wyoming to the Wyoming Department of Health.

April 15, 2020: State suspends the sale of non-resident, short-term fishing licenses.

April 17, 2020: A University of Wyoming poll showed 76% of Wyoming residents supported Gov. Gordon’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

April 18, 2020: Hundreds of Cheyenne citizens wait in line for hours to save a well-liked donut shut from shutting down due to coronavirus restrictions.

April 20, 2020: Protestors gather at Capitol to urge Gordon to reopen businesses.

April 21, 2020: A bar in Pinedale found a loophole to remain open by opening an outside bar.

April 23, 2020: Wyoming’s Superintendent of Public Instruction announced that schools can soon begin reopening on a limited basis.

April 29, 2020: Wyoming’s social distancing scorecard increases from an F+ to a D+.

April 29, 2020: Seven Republican legislators criticize Gov. Mark Gordon’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. One of those legislators, Roy Edwards from Campbell County, would later die from the virus.

April 30, 2020: Gordon and Public Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist allow the reopening of gyms and other businesses providing personal services, such as hair salons.

April 30, 2020: Teton County announces it will opt-out of state plans and keep gyms and hair salons closed.

April 30, 2020: Buffalo, Wyoming’s popular Longmire Days gets postponed for at least a month.

May 4, 2020: Department of Health begins granting exemptions from restaurant/bar closures for some counties.

May 7, 2020: Gordon announces bars and restaurants will be allowed to re-open on May 15 with restrictions.

May 8, 2020: The town of Cody announced they were spending $10,000 on a machine to test for the coronavirus in the sewage system.

May 10, 2020: Wyoming recorded its 500th case of the coronavirus.

May 12, 2020: Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney told FOX News that China intentionally spread the virus to the rest of the world.

May 13, 2020: A Sheridan brewery owner took to social media claiming that the Sheridan Police Department threatened to close the establishment due to a lack of mask-enforcement.

May 13, 2020: U.S. Sen. John Barrasso says U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s $3 trillion Covid package was proof she was living on “Fantasy Island”.

May 15, 2020: Gordon reopens restaurants, bars with restrictions.

May 15, 2020: Legislature begins virtual special session to authorize Gordon’s plan for spending $1.25 billion in federal CARES money. The plans include relief for businesses, families and businesses hurt by the pandemic, reimbursement for costs associated with the coronavirus and rental assistance.

May 17, 2020: “The Den,” a strip club south of Cheyenne, becomes one of the first strip clubs in America to reopen.

May 21, 2020: After 50 days in a hospital, a Fremont County man was discharged after recovering from Covid-19.

May 27, 2020: Cheyenne Frontier Days and officials with five of the state’s other largest rodeos announce they will cancel their 2020 seasons. The Cody Stampede initially joins the group, but then later decides to proceed with its rodeo.

June 4, 2020: Gordon asked his agency heads to prepare plans to cut their spending by 20% to deal with dramatic reductions in revenue for the state.

June 9, 2020: In a departure from other Wyoming rodeos, officials with the Cody Stampede announce they will be holding the annual rodeo over the first weekend of July.

June 15, 2020: Gordon announces schools, including the University of Wyoming, can resume in-person classes.

June 19, 2020: Longmire Days officially canceled.

June 27, 2020: Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney tweeted a photo of her Dad, former Vice President Dick Cheney, wearing a mask and the outcome was predictably explosive on social media.

June 30, 2020: Jackson Town Council passes resolution requiring face coverings in public.

July 15, 2020: In an emotional news conference, Gov. Gordon reiterated his concerns about the pandemic and criticized the lack of empathy some Wyoming citizens were showing.

July 20, 2020: The State of Wyoming approved a mandatory mask mandate in Teton County.

July 20, 2020: The number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming tops 500 for the first time.

July 28, 2020: New figures from the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group showed that Wyoming’s budget shortfall improved to -$1.4 billion.

July 28, 2020: In an emotional news conference, Gov. Mark Gordon said if “you’re dead set on taking down Wyoming’s economy, don’t wear a mask.”

August 18, 2020: A study showed that Wyoming’s alcohol consumption and sales went up in the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic.

August 26, 2020: In an emotional news conference, the Wyoming Dept of Health announced its budget was slashed by $138 Million. Gov Gordon called it devastating.

Sept. 16, 2020: Wyoming exceeds 100 new laboratory-confirmed cases in one day.

Sept. 23, 2020: Casper couple appears on CNN to say the coronavirus is not a hoax.

Oct. 14, 2020: Wyoming residents surveyed by the University of Wyoming remain divided over whether the coronavirus is a real threat or has been blown out of proportion.

Oct. 27, 2020: More than 100 people were hospitalized in Wyoming with COVID.

Oct. 27, 2020: The percentage of Wyoming residents regularly using face masks while in public is the lowest in the country, according to a survey conducted by Carnegie Mellon University.

Nov. 2, 2020: The number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming tops 5,000 for the first time.

Nov. 4, 2020: Announcement of 12 coronavirus-linked deaths brings total Wyoming fatalities to more than 100.

Nov. 13, 2020: Gov. Gordon calls individuals who were ignoring medical advice and putting Wyoming citizens at risk “knuckleheads”

Nov. 23, 2020: Wyoming peaks for new laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases reported in one day at 1,251.

Nov. 24, 2020: The number of active coronavirus cases in the state peaks at 11,861.

Nov. 25, 2020: Gov Gordon tests positive for coronavirus.

Dec. 1, 2020: U.S. Sen. appears on FOX News to announce first vaccine virus will be delivered by Dec 11; urges everyone to get vaccinated.

Dec. 7, 2020: Gordon issues statewide mask mandate, restricts gathering sizes.

Dec. 8, 2020: Sens. Enzi, Barrasso, and Rep. Cheney announce they support Gordon’s mask mandate.

Dec. 11, 2020: Announcement of 22 coronavirus-related deaths pushes fatality total over 300.

Dec. 15, 2020: First Wyoming resident, a public health nurse, gets COVID vaccine.

Dec. 27, 2020: Active case numbers drop below 2,000 for the first time since mid-October.

Jan 4, 2021: Conservative firebrand Scott Clem calls for civil disobedience at maskless protest in Cheyenne.

Jan 8, 2021: Weston County Commissioners oust health officer after denying variance request

Jan. 12, 2021: Covid-related Wyoming deaths exceed 500 with the reporting of 33 new deaths.

Jan. 21, 2021: An executive order by new President Joe Biden will add federal facilities to the list of places where face masks are required in Wyoming.

Feb. 6, 2021: Active case numbers drop below 1,000 for the first time since late September.

March 10, 2021: The Wyoming Legislature is considering multiple bills to limit public health orders in the state in a reaction to the coronavirus pandemic.

March 15, 2021: Gordon lifts mask mandate, restrictions on bars and restaurants.

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Cheney Slams Pelosi and Dems For COVID Bill Which Promotes “Anti-Life Agenda”

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney has joined her Wyoming colleagues in criticizing the latest coronavirus relief bill.

The U.S. House of Representatives was set to vote on the bill Wednesday, and it was expected to narrowly pass due to a slight Democratic majority in the chamber. The U.S. Senate passed the bill over the weekend, but with amendments which must now be agreed to by the House.

“The partisan bill that Speaker Pelosi is ramming through is not a COVID relief bill,” Cheney said on social media late Tuesday about the bill. “But for Democrats, this was never really about COVID relief… This legislation is about implementing the ‘most progressive’ legislation that Congress has ever passed.”

As approved by the Senate, the $1.9 trillion bill includes stimulus payments of $1,400 for most taxpayers, along with extended unemployment benefits and funds for vaccine distribution, local governments, schools and small businesses.

It also includes language that would allow Planned Parenthood to obtain loans through the relief program, but does not contain language prohibiting the use of that federal money for abortions, often referred to “Hyde amendment” language.

“Preventing taxpayer funded abortions is something a majority of Americans agree with, yet Democrats are using ‘COVID relief’ to implement their anti-life agenda,” Cheney said Wednesday. “This is shameful behavior by Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats.”

Among measures removed from the bill by the Senate was a provision that would have raised the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour.

Cheney’s criticisms are similar to those echoed by U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis over the weekend, following the Senate passing the bill.

“Even after the most egregious, progressive handouts were stripped from this behemoth bill, we were left with a spending bill full of programs that have nothing to do with the targeted, temporary relief the people of Wyoming need to weather the rest of this pandemic,” Lummis said on Saturday.

Lummis submitted seven amendments to the bill, including one to make the Shuttered Venue Grant program more accessible to Wyoming businesses such as concert venues and rodeo grounds, an amendment to redirect money from Amtrak to help the rural aviation industry and multiple amendments to ensure relief money is properly allocated to programs including veterans’ services and tribal health care.

Barrasso agreed with his colleague during an appearance on “Meet the Press.”

“When people find out what’s in this bill, they’re going to lose any enthusiasm they may have for it right now,” Barrasso said. “This was not really about the coronavirus in terms of the spending. This was a liberal wish list of liberal spending, just basically filled with pork. It didn’t need to be this way.”

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Wyoming Legislature Considers Bills Limiting Health Orders, Officers

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Wyoming Legislature is considering multiple bills to limit public health orders in the state in a reaction to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Legislature is considering at least five bills related to public health orders and the authority of state and county health officers in the wake of the pandemic.

SF80, which would have originally required at least 48 hours notice and a public comment period before a health order goes into effect, was approved in its third reading in the Senate on Wednesday morning by a vote of 21-9.

However, the bill was amended so public health officers could act immediately to issue health orders rather than waiting for the public notice or comment period.

“There’s not a delay of 48 hours, but it does put a requirement for the health officer or person putting in the mandate to seek public comments,” said Sen. Troy McKeown, R-Gillette, the amendment’s sponsor.

The amendment also would allow health orders to be implemented for 60 days, up from the 30-day period outlined in the original bill.

Finally, the bill will allow for the Legislature to call a special session in the event of a situation like the pandemic.

Sen. Drew Perkins, R-Casper, spoke in favor of the amendments in the bill.

“It incorporates the lessons we learned just a year ago and avoids some of the constitutional minefields and traps,” he said. “I think this bill strikes a pretty decent balance and has some very practical applications that seem reasonable to me.”

Sens. Fred Baldwin, R-Kemmerer, and Chris Rothfuss, D-Laramie, both supported the amendments, although the latter still had questions about implementing the legislation in the “real world.”

However, one senator was less enthusiastic about the bill.

“These amendments make a bad bill less bad, so I think we should probably go ahead and pass them,” Sen. Charles Scott, R-Casper, said.

Another of the bills on public health orders, HB127, which was approved by the House Corporations Committee on Tuesday, would limit the duration of local public health orders to 10 days, which could be extended with a majority vote from the city or county’s governing body.

For a statewide order, the state health officer could issue an order that would be in effect for 10 days, but all subsequent orders would have to be issued by the governor. The bill also requires that the state public health officer will be a doctor licensed in Wyoming and can be removed by either the governor or the Department of Health director.

This bill is slated for general file, its first full House floor debate, on Thursday, meaning it could be soon headed to the Wyoming Senate for consideration.

Three additional three health-related bills being discussed in legislative committees. They are:

  • HB98, which would limit the duration of public health orders to 10 days unless ratified by the Legislature. If the Legislature isn’t in session, the governor can extend the health order for seven days, but a special legislative session would have to be called for ratification. Local health orders would have to be ratified by a majority vote of the local governing board;
  • HB113, which would limit the duration of public health orders to 30 days unless ratified by the local government or an “applicable governing body,”
  • And HB56, which would limit the duration of public health orders forcing the closure of buildings or businesses to 15 days, unless the order is ratified by the Legislature. Ratified orders would go into effect for 15 days and have to be ratified again in order to be extended. Local health orders will also be in place for 15 days, unless ratified by the local governing body. Orders would have to be ratified every 15 days.

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44 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Tuesday; 454 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s active coronavirus cases decreased by 4 on Tuesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received new reports of 64 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases Tuesday.

At the same time, the state reported 44 new laboratory-confirmed and 25 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 454 active cases, a decrease of 4 from Monday, marking the second consecutive day there have been fewer than 500 active cases in the state.

Laramie reported 79 active cases; Teton had 78; Sweetwater 65; Natrona 47; Fremont 38; Uinta 27; Lincoln 24; Sheridan 15; Campbell 14; Albany, Carbon and Park each had 10; Goshen eight; Big Horn and Platte had seven; Sublette four; Washakie three; Converse, Hot Springs and Jonson had two each;  Weston had one and Niobrara recorded zero active cases for the second day in a row.

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 54,972 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020.

Of those, 53,827 have recovered.

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