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Laramie County

Wyoming Health Officials Unsure Why Laramie County Has Higher COVID Cases Than Rest of State

in News/Coronavirus
11937

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Some Wyoming health officials are unsure as to why some counties are enjoying lower rates of active coronavirus cases than others.

Laramie County has a significantly higher number of active coronavirus cases than any other county — at 267, more than half of the statewide total of 476 as of Tuesday.

That means about three-tenths of 1% of the county’s population — 0.26% to be exact — had active coronavirus infections as of Tuesday.

The number of active cases in the county is seven times higher than the number found in the county with the second-highest total, Sweetwater County with 38.

However, the Laramie County vaccination rate is about the same as the statewide average — about 32%.

Wyoming Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday that the other 22 counties across the state aren’t doing anything different from Laramie County to account for the lower case numbers.

“There really isn’t much difference between what most counties are doing,” she said.

Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department executive director Kathy Emmons told Cowboy State Daily last month that one recent wedding in the county caused a COVID spread throughout the community. She explained that the Delta variant is much more contagious than other strains of the coronavirus, and the low vaccination rate in both the county and statewide aren’t helping prevent its spread.

Johnson County, which had no active coronavirus cases as of Tuesday, has seen a surge of tourists this summer due to lessening or expiring health orders, but cases have still stayed low over the last month.

“We’ve gone up and down to about five cases in the last three weeks,” Robin King, the county’s public health preparedness specialist, told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday. “Some tourists are wearing masks, but locals really aren’t wearing them. I haven’t seen anything different we’re doing, on a public health side, for cases to be low.”

As of Tuesday, active coronavirus cases were found in about eight one-hundredths of 1% — 0.08% — of the state’s population. However, once Laramie County was taken out of the equation, the infection rate dropped to 0.04%. Only two other counties had an active case rate above one-tenth of one percent — Uinta at 0.11% and Carbon at 0.12%.

With the upcoming Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, Emmons said there are concerns the new Delta variant will spread even further. She added the Health Department has been working with CFD officials to make the event as safe as possible.

“It’s a concern because there are a lot of people in a close area, but at least it’s outside for the most part,” she said. “The CEO and chairmen (of CFD) are encouraging the volunteers to get vaccinated, too. The problem is if people get sick, they can’t go to work, which then impacts businesses and our local economy.”

However, Emmons said she does not expect to see any health orders or mask mandates coming back into play anytime soon. She added the Health Department is not recommending that people who have been vaccinated wear masks, but is recommending masks be used in public spaces by those who have not been vaccinated.

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Laramie Co. Health Director Worried About Mutating Delta COVID Variant

in News/Coronavirus
11746

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

With the Delta variant of the coronavirus hitting Cheyenne and Laramie County particularly hard, the executive director for the county’s health department is concerned about the low vaccine rates.

Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department Executive Director Kathy Emmons told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that she is concerned about the Delta variant hitting the county particularly hard.

“I’m very concerned, because we see all of the COVID variants that come into the state,” she said. “We can see what patient has what variant and see the contact tracing.”

Of the nearly 40 Delta variant cases in Wyoming, 34 are in Laramie County, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.

Emmons said one recent wedding in the county caused a COVID spread throughout the community. She explained that the Delta variant is much more contagious than other strains of the coronavirus, and the low vaccination rate in both the county and statewide aren’t helping prevent its spread.

Laramie County’s current vaccination rate is around 35%.

“When a virus runs out of food, it will die,” Emmons said. “This particular variant keeps mutating, which is what viruses do until they run out of something to live off of, and the only way that will happen is if people get vaccinated.”

The quick mutation has kept Emmons and other Wyoming health officials from saying whether or not people who are vaccinated against the virus can be asymptomatic carriers of the variant.

She also noted that while people may think they can’t catch the virus a second time after being infected and getting the coronavirus’ antibodies, this is not the case.

Positive test results and hospitalization numbers have continued to tick upward in both Laramie County and Wyoming, with Emmons comparing the local numbers to those seen last fall, when there was a surge of coronavirus cases across the state.

With the upcoming Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, Emmons said there are concerns the variant will spread even further. She added the Health Department has been working with CFD officials to make the event as safe as possible.

“It’s a concern because there are a lot of people in a close area, but at least it’s outside for the most part,” she said. “The CEO and chairmen (of CFD) are encouraging the volunteers to get vaccinated, too. The problem is if people get sick, they can’t go to work, which then impacts businesses and our local economy.”

However, Emmons said she does not expect to see any health orders or mask mandates coming back into play anytime soon. She added the Health Department is not recommending that people who have been vaccinated wear masks, but is recommending masks be used in public spaces by those who have not been vaccinated.

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Laramie County Sheriff’s Dept Mourns Loss of K-9 Officer Lyra

in News
10905

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Laramie County Sheriff’s Department is mourning the loss of one of its retired K-9 officers, Lyra, who passed away over the weekend.

Lyra worked for the department from June 2013 until her retirement in November. Some of her missions included working at Cheyenne Frontier Days and handling duties for presidential visits, such as sniffing for potential explosive devices.

“Lyra had plenty of toys, treats and love,” the department wrote on its Facebook page Tuesday. “Lyra will be missed, respected and loved. Thank you for your service girl, your watch has ended.”

Lyra was living in retirement with her former handler, Deputy Adrian Murray. They shared her last moments together over the weekend. The cause of her death was not announced.

One of Lyra’s colleagues at the University of Wyoming, Mulder, passed away back in March unexpectedly. He also spent July working at the Cheyenne Frontier Days grounds, checking for possible explosives.

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For adventure close at hand, Cheyenne residents hike or bike Hidden Falls

in Recreation/Tourism
2008

On the plains of southeast Wyoming access to mountainous hiking and biking can seem at a distance.

Curt Gowdy State Park offers Cheyenne residents and visitors from northern Colorado a great escape that’s just minutes from the capital city.

The Crow Creek Trail to Hidden Falls trail is a particular gem in the state park. The 3.6 mile out and back trail leads to a charming little waterfall and offers terrain that is fun for families but challenging enough that everyone gets to feel those muscles working.

It’s not an hours drive to get outside. This is your reminder, southeastern Wyoming, take in the fall weather while it lasts at Curt Gowdy State Park.

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