Governor Gordon: Long battle against COVID-19 ahead
Governor Mark Gordon said Monday that Wyoming residents should prepare for a long battle and be prepared to make sacrifices in the battle against the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
At the time the governor spoke, 28 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in eight counties across the Cowboy State. By Tuesday morning, the number was 29. The latest is the second case from Carbon County. Fremont County has been hit the hardest with 10 cases. More than 523 patients have been tested.
The Governor admitted that testing supplies are limited. So the number of infected residents is likely higher than the official tally.
Testing at the state lab has ramped up over the last two weeks. At the beginning of March, the state lab could only process five samples a day.
At yesterday’s news conference, State Health Officer Doctor Alexia Harrist said that the state lab now can process more 80 than samples a day without a backlog. She said the improved efficiencies are the result of increasing the number of lab workers and automating some parts of the process.
Given those number, the state lab has enough materials to maintain the heavy pace of testing for two weeks without restocking.
The bottleneck, said Harrist, lies with the amount of sampling materials available to local communities. So while you or a family member might want to be tested, you may not meet the criteria. Testing remains largely prioritized to individuals presenting symptoms and who answer yes to questions about recent travel and contact with other confirmed cases.
Carbon County is experiencing such a shortage. The local public health officer said in a release that “the amount of swabs needed to test individuals is very minimal.”
More of have been requested but delivery has not been guaranteed. So testing is being rationed, and the real spread of COVID-19 in Wyoming is unknown and likely underreported.
Demand for testing supplies across the country is high and shortages might not ease. The enemy is invisible as infected carriers are not always identifiable. So to protect yourself and your family, you should disengage from public life, the governor said.
The governor addressed a number of other issues during Monday’s 45-minute news conference. A decision about whether the closure of schools will be lifted on April 3rd will be reached by next week.
Like testing supplies, Personal Protective Equipment for emergency responders and medical professionals is in high demand and short supply. The governor said the state has received a shipment, which will be distributed to hospitals, as wells as police departments around the state.
He added that given the chronic shortage of doctors, nurses and med-tech workers in the state, protecting the ones we have working the front lines now is critical for the health and well-being of all residents.
The governor also addressed the closure of restaurants and bars that threaten to put some out of business if the clampdown is extended. Some bars in the state reportedly flaunted the order after it was first issued last week. The governor seemed to address them directly.
Following the implied threat, the governor responded to a question from Bigfoot 99 and said that he does not expect to issue a shelter in place order as some states have, at least “in the next few days.” He also said the battle against the novel coronavirus will not be won by the April 3rd end date of the earlier closure orders.
Town of Saratoga implementing COVID-19 policies
Like other governing bodies in the county, the Saratoga Town Council took action Monday to support the statewide public health order in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The resolution yesterday also adopts emergency changes to the town’s personnel policy and building closures. Emma Diercks reports.
Replay of Monday’s Saratoga Town Council meeting:
No structures lost in Four Bar Ranch fire
The Saratoga Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire on a ranch just outside of town limits Sunday night. Hay bales were engulfed in flames, but no structures were loss. Emma Diercks reports.
MHCC completes land trade in Rawlins
Officials from Memorial Hospital of Carbon County, the City of Rawlins, and the Board of County Commissioners have spent the last five years working to swap parcels of land near Washington Park in Rawlins.
During last Tuesday’s Rawlins City Council meeting, officials called it a “win-win” as they finalized the land-trade.
Cali O’Hare has followed the story and has the latest update.
Sports: Rockies manager encourages players to treat season delay like late off-season
The Colorado Rockies have made some adjustments on how they are preparing for the upcoming delayed season. Joey Saverine has the story.
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