Wyoming confirms 7 new cases of COVID-19

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Wyoming climbed to 10 Monday night. The Wyoming Department of Health reported that seven new cases were confirmed in the Lander area. Wyoming’s second case was reported in Fremont County last week.

State Health officer Dr. Harrist and her team visited Lander this weekend investigating other potential cases.

The testing identified the seven new cases. WDH is continuing to follow up regarding exposure risks of the new cases and will work to identify and communicate with anyone who may have been in close contact with them. Known contacts will be monitored for symptoms and tested if needed.

At a news conference yesterday, the governor said with more testing, we’ll see more cases of Covid 19 confirmed.

Click to view replay of press conference.

The governor noted that an increase in confirmed cases does not necessarily represent an increase in the percentage of positives cases from the testing being conducted.

Also at Monday’s news conference, Governor Gordon resisted the national trend of “closing everything.” The governor laid out his administration’s coordinated response to the novel corona virus and its wall-to-wall impact on multiple aspects of everyday life.

The governor said he is setting up five different task forces to provide a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The five task forces are health, education, state services and operations, business and finances, and finally transportation and infrastructure. Each of the five top-elected officials will head up one of the teams. All task force heads will report to the governor.

Gordon said he talked with the governors of surrounding states yesterday to gauge their efforts to stem the spread of the virus.

Much of the governor’s remarks yesterday were aimed at calming fears. Gordon said while he does not minimize the health threat the virus poses, his goal is to move state’s focus from crisis to recovery.


Click to view a portion of the replay of the press conference.

As part of desire for life to go on, Governor Gordon pushed back against the White House yesterday.

During a news conference of his own Monday, President Donald Trump released a set of coronavirus guidelines meant to slow the spread of the bug. The measures call for something close to a nationwide lockdown, including the closing of restaurants and schools.


Some area restaurants like Saratoga’s Hotel Wolf are implementing abbreviated service measures. Click to view larger.

While the White House guidelines will be revisited after the initial 15-day advisory, the president — like the governor later — warned the virus could affect American life for some time, even into the summer.

Some states, like California, already have taken steps to limit restaurants and bars. The governor said he is looking to respond to the situation in ways that are tailored to the situation on the ground in Wyoming.

The governor said the task forces would set up shop over the next few days.

Also at yesterday’s news conference, the state health officer announced that the state lab has been able to increase the volume of testing it’s able to do for COVID-19. Two weeks, the lab was only able to process five samples a day. That had doubled to ten by last week.

Harrist said the lab is now able to test at least 20 patient samples a day. The state health officer provided a rundown of lab work, including both the number of tests conducted so far and the number of samples waiting in the queue.

Because the state no longer is required to have the CDC sign off on a positive test, results can be returned to local health care providers faster. Dr. Harrist added that the state lab has plans to ramp up testing even further in response to the number of samples it is receiving.


Photo by Cali O’Hare/Bigfoot 99.

School districts develop plan for continued instruction and nutrition

How schools participate in the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 is one of the big challenges statewide and locally.

Emma Diercks reports that on the first day of closed schools in Carbon County, officials with both District One and Two worked on building a a game-plan for the next three weeks.

Click here for CCSD1 School Closure School Food Delivery Routes

UPDATE: Darrin Jennings from Saratoga Middle High School announce Tuesday morning that Saratoga is serving free lunches for students this week and the week of the 30th.

One free lunch per student aged child can be picked up at the Saratoga Middle High School between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. Monday through Friday. No lunches will be served next week as it is scheduled spring break. Meals will resume serving the week of the March 30th.

The Encampment K-12 School also announced it will be offering sack lunches to Encampment students between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m., except for March 23-27. Each student is allowed one lunch per day.


Photo courtesy of Town of Saratoga.

Hot springs closed during coronavirus outbreak

In other local response to coronavirus concerns, the hot pools in Saratoga are closed.

In a letter to county commissioners yesterday, the county public health officer,  Dr. Wayne Couch, recommended the closure of all public swimming pools, hot tubs, gymnasiums and geothermal features.

Saratoga Mayor John Zeiger told Bigfoot 99 the recommendation includes the town’s famed hot springs.

Dr. Couch noted in his letter that the situation and the behavior of the viral pandemic are evolving quickly.

Also recommended for closure in the letter are senior centers and non-essential county offices. County commissioners approved the recommendations at their regular meeting Tuesday.



Photo by Cali O’Hare/Bigfoot 99.

Rawlins closes all municipal facilities to public

In Rawlins, closures, cancellations and postponements continue in waves, as local organizations, businesses and other entities enact precautions which aim to limit the potential spread of COVID-19.

Cali O’Hare has details.



Photo courtesy of Platte Valley Clinic.

Platte Valley Clinic reduces access to patients

In addition to the Saratoga Care Center, the Platte Valley Clinic is now limiting access to visitors. Both actions were implemented on recommendations by the state.

Emma Diercks reports.



Sports: Broncos front office works from home as the new league year begins

While the local school districts are making decisions on how they will move forward with the spring sports season, Joey Saverine reports that the Denver Broncos are still moving forward with the new league year, but doing it a bit differently.


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