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Wyoming coronavirus recoveries increase by 24, doctor warns against complacency


May 14, 2020

The number of coronavirus patients to recover from the illness since it was first detected in Wyoming in March grew by 24 on Tuesday.

However, in Natrona County, where confirmed coronavirus cases have increased by 13 in the last week, the public health officer is urging residents to adhere to public health recommendations that are still in place.

“You loosen the recommendations and the compliance with what we want you do and you see an increase in cases,” Dr. Mark Dowell said during a news conference Tuesday. “I’ve got to tell you, we can do a better job as a community at following the guidelines from the state and from our Health Department.”

The number of people declared recovered on Tuesday brought the total number of recoveries since mid-March to 528, including 388 among patients with confirmed coronavirus cases and 140 among those with “probable” cases.

Probable cases are defined as those where a patient has coronavirus symptoms and has been in contact with someone with a confirmed case, but has not been tested for the illness.

The number of probable cases stood at 193 on Tuesday, while confirmed cases increased by six to total 583. New cases were seen in Natrona, Carbon, Fremont and Laramie counties.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Fremont County had 204 cases; Laramie County had 121; Teton County had 69; Natrona County had 51; Campbell and Sweetwater counties had 16; Converse had 14; Washakie had 13; Johnson and Sheridan counties had 12; Lincoln had 11; Albany had 10; Carbon and Uinta had eight; Crook had five; Goshen and Hot Springs had four, and Big Horn had two. Niobrara, Park and Sublette counties all had one case.

The announcement of two new cases in Natrona County on Tuesday prompted Dowell to urge people to pay attention to the guidelines issued when statewide rules closing some businesses were relaxed last week. Those recommendations include continued social distancing, the continued use of face masks and making sure gatherings contain fewer than 25 people.

“It’s as if people don’t think it’s real or don’t think they should have to do it,” he said. “ … I think the families of the 90,000 Americans that have died in the last two and one-half months would appreciate if we did what we needed to do, even in Wyoming.”

In other developments:

Trial backlog: The coronavirus pandemic is probably going to create a massive backlog of jury trials this fall, according to the chief justice for Wyoming’s Supreme Court. Justice Michael Davis said at the Supreme Court’s order, courts have suspended jury trials until Aug. 3 due to concerns over the coronavirus. Davis said in Laramie County alone, district court judges are postponing between 15 and 25 jury trials per month.

Devils Tower open: The Devils Tower National Monument will open with limited services on Friday, according to monument officials. Ranger Nickolos J. Meyers, in a news release, said the monument will reopen access to park roads, hiking trails, picnic areas and rock climbing routes. However, the visitor’s center and Devils Tower Natural History Association Bookstore will remain closed.

WWC reopens: Some Western Wyoming College students returned to their classrooms on Monday as the college reopened its doors for technology and industry students. Western officials put a number of safeguards in place to resume classroom education and Kim Dale, Western’s president, said things appeared to go smoothly on opening day Monday.

Bighorn recreation: Developed recreation sites in the Bighorn National Forest began opening Wednesday. Forest Supervisor Andrew Johnson urged visitors to observe health safeguards as they use the sites. “While we understand there may be some excitement from the public to return to beloved recreation areas, please continue to follow local, state and federal guidelines on staying safe,” he said. “There is still work to be done ensuring cleanliness of facilities, conducting proper maintenance and assessing recreation areas for health and safety.”

Back to school: Eastern Wyoming College has won approval for its plan to allow some students to attend classes before the end of the school year. The college opened up on Monday, primarily to allow its welding and cosmetology students to finish their classes, said college President Lesley Travers. “Some of these students already have employment and we want to make sure we don’t stand in their way,” Travers said.


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