Active COVID-19 cases on the rise
Restrictions extended as daily case record broken again
July 30, 2020
As new COVID-19 infections continue to plague the state and the number of active cases climbs, the Wyoming Department of Health announced on Monday that, along with the Department of Education and the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security, it will be delivering half a million face coverings to school districts as the first day of school creeps closer.
Current state orders, according to the announcement, would mean that face coverings will be required in schools in situations where physical distancing is not practical. The 500,000 masks are the result of state and local collaboration between public and private entities.
Whether or not face coverings will be necessary depends on how the state health orders stand when the new semester begins, and local decisions made with these in mind. The current orders are set to expire at the end of this week.
Governor Mark Gordon announced on Monday that they will be replaced on August 1 with similar orders and no further loosening of restrictions will be made at this time. The new orders will remain in place until August 15.
“It is important for all of us to remain vigilant as we continue to see case numbers increase statewide,” Governor Gordon said in a press release. “We are approaching a critical time for our state’s economy. So far, Wyoming has been able to keep our businesses open and our citizens safe. That’s good for our economy and good for the health of our people.”
Gordon urged the public to think about the future of the state when considering whether to wear a mask.
“As we look towards the fall, we must remember that continued business expansion is a fragile thing and depends on each citizen doing their best to keep our economy flourishing,” he said. “I sincerely thank those Wyoming citizens who are taking action to keep our businesses open by voluntarily wearing a mask when you can’t socially distance.”
The new orders give more specific guidelines for schools, including a continuation of the requirement to wear a face covering in situations where six feet of separation cannot be maintained (specific exemptions are included).
The orders continue to allow gatherings up to 50 persons in a confined space to without restrictions and events of up to 250 persons with social distancing and increased sanitization measures in place. Faith-based gatherings will still be permitted to operate without restrictions, with appropriate social distancing encouraged, and the restrictions that apply to restaurants, bars, gyms and performance spaces will remain in place.
The need for a continuation of the restrictions is related to a change to the COVID-19 dashboard: statewide metrics that use a traffic light code to signal the state of various metrics regarding the pandemic. Though the color green had begun to creep onto the chart as metrics reached the “improved” level, it has once again disappeared.
At this time, four of the six metrics are at amber level, described as “stable”: community spread, percentage of all tests with a positive result, total hospital bed availability and total ICU bed availability. Two, however, are at red level, described as “concerning”: new cases and total admissions reported by hospitals.
Wyoming once again broke its record for daily lab-confirmed cases on Tuesday with a total of 64. With daily statistics also including 58 new cases on Thursday and 50 on Thursday, the upwards trend has continued.
One new death was added to the state’s tally on Wednesday; the older woman from Campbell County did not have health conditions known to put patients at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and had not been hospitalized.
An additional death was added on Tuesday. An adult man from Uinta County died in another state; he is reported to have had health conditions putting him at higher risk of serious illness.
The total number of Wyomingites to have succumbed to the virus is now 26.
The number of active cases across Wyoming has remained over the 500 mark and continues to climb. Though both dipping and rising on a daily basis as recoveries are subtracted from the case count, the figure nonetheless rose from 520 on Wednesday to 595 by Tuesday.
Crook County has once again escaped the worst of the spread, with no new cases reported over the last week and both of its most recent COVID-19 patients now reported to have recovered. Crook County has now seen a total of nine cases, none of which are active.
On Monday, Crook County was one of only three Wyoming counties with no active cases, along with Johnson and Niobrara.
Recoveries have also continued to show robust increases, rising from 1417 of the confirmed cases and 328 probable on Wednesday to 1615 and 355 respectively by Tuesday.