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Coronavirus deaths rise to 12, Platte Co. sees first case


May 21, 2020

A Washakie County man is the 12th Wyoming resident to die from the coronavirus, the Wyoming Department of Health has reported.

Meanwhile, Platte County saw its first confirmed laboratory case of coronavirus on Thursday as the total number of cases seen since the pandemic reached Wyoming in mid-March topped 600.

The Department of Health said the older Washakie County man was living at a long-term care facility where an outbreak of the illness has been detected, with five staff members and six residents testing positive for the illness.

With 16 cases reported, Washakie County is now among the counties with the highest number of confirmed cases.

The single confirmed case diagnosed in Platte County, meanwhile, ended that county’s run of more than two months without a coronavirus case. The development leaves Weston County as the only county in the state without a confirmed or probable case.

The Platte County case was among 12 new cases reported around Wyoming in six counties Thursday, increasing the state’s total to 608.

As of Thursday afternoon, Fremont County had 213 cases; Laramie County had 121; Teton County had 69; Natrona County had 54; Campbell and Sweetwater had 17; Washakie had 16; Converse had 14; Johnson and Sheridan had 12; Lincoln had 11; Albany and Uinta had 10; Carbon had nine; Hot Springs had 7; Crook had five; Goshen had four, and Big Horn and Park had two. Niobrara, Platte and Sublette had one case each.

The number of people declared recovered on Thursday, 12, brought the total number of recoveries since mid-March to 546, including 402 among patients with confirmed coronavirus cases and 144 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 Thursday.

The number of active cases in Wyoming as determined using Department of Health figures stood at 245, including 196 patients with confirmed cases and 49 with probable cases.

The number of active cases is determined by adding the number of confirmed and probable cases — 801 — subtracting the total number of recoveries and then subtracting the number of deaths.

In other developments:

Relief package: Gov. Mark Gordon has signed into law the three bills approved by the Legislature during its special session May 15-16. The bills authorize Gordon to spend $1.25 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds and set up assistance programs for businesses and renters. Gordon thanked legislators for their work in the session in a letter outlining his actions on the bills. “You wrestled with complicated programs in challenging times under trying circumstances and demonstrated what we in Wyoming do so well — work together to find solutions,” he wrote.

Outbreak: About 265 residents and staff at a Casper long-term care facility will be tested and quarantined following the confirmation of a coronavirus case. The Casper-Natrona County Health Department said the residents being tested will quarantine within the facility itself. Staff members who show no symptoms of the illness but have been tested will be allowed to continue work with the use of personal protective equipment until the test results have been returned.

Negative: Tests on 53 people connected with Evanston’s Child Development Center for the coronavirus have all returned negative results. The people were tested after a child who had been attending the facility was diagnosed with the illness. “This is a good sign, especially after the worry of not knowing the source for the infection in the positive case,” said a statement from the Uinta County Public Health Office.

Canceled: One of the nation’s top classical music festivals has been canceled for the year. The board for the annual Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson has announced the event held in July and August will resume in 2021. “However disappointing this news, our first responsibility is to ensure the health and safety of our audience, musicians, guest artists, staff and people of Teton County — and canceling the festival is, sadly, the only way to do that,” the board said in a statement.

Fair on: As officials across the state adjust the schedules of county fairs to cope with the coronavirus, planning for the Goshen County Fair is proceeding at “full speed ahead,” according to the county’s fairgrounds manager. Stephanie Lofink said unless she is told that the fair can’t feature the events it usually does, she will plan on a full slate of activities. “Fair is on until we are mandated that it is canceled,” she said. “We do have ways we can modify certain things that we can implement when we’re forced to. Until then, we’re full speed ahead.” The fair is scheduled for July 31 through Aug. 8.


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