State preparing, but coronavirus risk low
February 27, 2020
While the number of reported cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to grow around the world, the current risk of an outbreak is still low in Wyoming, according to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).
Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH, says, “We have seen no reported or suspected cases in our state so far and that’s why we are saying the risk to our state’s residents from this virus is still low. However, we also closely tracking COVID-19 and preparing as needed should the risk for Wyoming residents change.”
COVID-19 symptoms have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon says, “Our office has been coordinating closely with the Department of Health and other state agencies to monitor this situation. It is also the height of flu season and I want to urge people to be doubly diligent in taking common-sense precautions to protect themselves from illness.”
Harrist recommended steps that can help avoid the spread of influenza or any respiratory illness, including COVID 19:
• Avoid close contact with sick people.
• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
• Stay home if sick.
• Cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60 percent alcohol.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold in people and others that circulate among animals.
“Because COVID-19 is a new virus and because it is spreading, it warrants special concern,” she said. “Those conditions also likely fuel rumors. We’ve heard a few and that’s why we are continuing to provide credible information for Wyoming residents.”
For more information about coronavirus disease 2019 and Wyoming, visit: health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/.
Harrist noted any testing for COVID-19 is currently performed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. In Wyoming, this testing can only be arranged through WDH.
Travel restrictions are meant to help detect the virus and to help limit ongoing spread in this country. Currently, foreign nationals are not allowed to enter the United States from China.
Americans returning from the most affected area of China or from anywhere in China with symptoms are being quarantined outside of Wyoming. Americans returning from other areas of China without symptoms are being monitored after returning home.
“At this point, there has been no sign of what we call ongoing, community spread of COVID-19 in the United States,” Harrist said.
For more details about the disease and its national and international status from the CDC, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.