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Coronavirus case count jumps to 56, no hospitalization for most


March 26, 2020

A large majority of Wyoming’s coronavirus cases have not resulted in hospitalization, according to Wyoming Health Department figures.

As of Thursday evening, the state’s coronavirus case count stood at 56 in 12 counties, including the first cases to surface in Johnson and Hot Springs counties.

An analysis of 55 of the cases conducted by the Health Department showed that most, 38, did not result in hospitalization.

The analysis also showed that the highest number of virus cases, 19, was found among those age 60 to 69. The next highest incidence of the virus was found in those age 50 to 59, with 11 cases.

Only one case each had been detected among those age 18 and under or age 80 and over.

Most of the cases, 33, were found in women.

The cause for the highest number of cases, 23, was identified as contact with another person who had the virus. However, in 18 cases, no cause has been determined.

The state Health Department also announced on Thursday that 17 of the state’s coronavirus patients have recovered.

Information on where those recoveries occurred was not available from the Health Department, however, Albany County health officials reported that the one coronavirus patient identified in the county had already recovered from the illness after self-isolation.

In Sheridan County, health officials reported all four of the people diagnosed with the illness have recovered.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Laramie County had the state’s highest number of coronavirus cases at 15, while Fremont County had 14. Teton County had eight cases, Natrona County had six, Sheridan County had four and Carbon County had three. Albany, Campbell, Johnson, Hot Springs, Park and Sweetwater counties each reported one case.

State officials have advised Wyoming residents repeatedly that the number of cases in the state will increase as more coronavirus testing is completed. As of 9 a.m. Friday, the Health Department reported that more than 1,100 tests had been completed, 865 at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory and 239 by private commercial laboratories.

In other developments:

Unemployment: Department of Workforce Service officials said Thursday they have seen a significant increase in unemployment claims in recent days, although they did not have exact figures on the increase. According to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, the coronavirus could cost the state more than 25,000 jobs this year, most of them in the leisure, hospitality and retail industries.

Failing grade: According to a company that uses cell phone signals to chart the movement of people, Wyoming gets a failing grade for social distancing. Unacast, in its “social distancing scorecard,” said Wyoming residents actually increased their average distance traveled between the arrival of the coronavirus and March 22 — earning the state a grade of “F” for social distancing. The company said this is evidence people are not staying home to self-isolate. Nationally, people have reduced their travel distances by an average of 40 percent, while Wyoming travel distances increased by 6 percent.

Helping out: Four University of Wyoming students and two recent graduate students recently helped process coronavirus tests at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory. Joined by a veterinary epidemiologist from the university, the students have helped increase the the lab’s testing facility by tenfold.

Prison plans: The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is asking state officials for a more comprehensive plan to protect the state’s inmates from a potential coronavirus outbreak in its institutions. The state recently suspended visitations to correctional facilities, but the ACLU is asking for a more detailed plan. State officials said they are working on a plan.

Robot help: Two “cleaning robots” that use ultraviolet light rays to kill microorganisms have been donated to Jackson’s St. John’s Hospital. The devices are automated and can be rolled into rooms without patients in them to clean the room in 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the room size. The machines send out short-wavelength ultraviolet light rays to “inactivate” microorganisms such as the COVID-19 virus.

Bear hunt: Gillette residents are organizing “bear hunts” to give students stuck at home by the coronavirus outbreak something to do. Residents are placing stuffed bears in their windows and then children walk their neighborhoods, looking for the bears.

Reading material: An anonymous donor has made it possible for the Riverton Ranger to print an extra 500 copies of its newspaper every day for delivery to “anyone who wants a copy of The Ranger,” such as shut-ins, nursing home residents, hospital patients and veterans.


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