Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

County requests mask order

County Health Officer Dr. James Larsen has petitioned the state for a temporary countywide mask order. The county commissioners expressed support for the move on Tuesday.

The intention of the order is to promote awareness of the increasing seriousness of the pandemic in this area, says Melanie Wilmer, Crook County Public Health.

“None of us want it enforced [by penalty],” she says, explaining that Dr. Larsen’s goal is to help alleviate the strain on our healthcare system, promote compassion within the community and support businesses who would prefer customers to wear a mask on the premises.

At time of going to press, confirmation of the mask order had not yet been received but was expected imminently. The order will run until December 14, says Wilmer, at which time it will be revisited to see if an extension is needed.

Statewide, a lengthy run of high infection rates and rising active cases was put on pause this week. With the state public health laboratory closed for Thanksgiving and an unprecedented number of people recovering from COVID-19, new infections were outpaced enough gave recovery rates the chance to catch up.

Last Tuesday, the number of active cases in Wyoming stood at 11,861. The next day, despite 702 new cases, a large number of recoveries brought that number down to 10,433.

After a day without new statistics from the state due to the holiday, the numbers on Friday and Saturday saw the trend repeated. Active cases dropped over that four-day period by almost 3000 thanks to the reported recoveries.

Despite a brief reversal on Sunday, with an increase of 336 active cases, the drop continued on Monday. This led to a low of 8612 active cases.

Among the new infections reported over the week was Governor Mark Gordon, who released a statement on Wednesday that he had received a positive test result for COVID-19. The governor reported suffering only minor symptoms and planned to continue his work remotely.

Much like the rest of the state, Crook County enjoyed a week of lower infection numbers. Just 16 new confirmed cases were added to the tally and one new probable case.

This brings the local totals to 286 confirmed and 22 probable cases over the course of the pandemic.

An additional death from the coronavirus was added to Crook County’s list this week, bringing the overall total number of people who have died here due to COVID-19 to five. Crook County Public Health reported on Wednesday that an older adult woman had died within the last week; she was not hospitalized and was a resident of a local long-term care facility with health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk.

The death was added to the statistics among a total of 28 new deaths reported in Wyoming. This has brought the overall number of people who have died in the state due to the coronavirus to 230.

Access to medical assistance continues to be a concern across Wyoming. Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 began a slow decline after the all-time high of 235 was reached on November 21; however, after dropping by 15 patients over the course of a week, the total hospitalized patients jumped back up and surpassed the all-time record when hitting 245 on Monday.

In Crook County, hospitalizations have remained at two for most of the last week, spiking at three COVID-19 patients within the hospital in Sundance on Thanksgiving Day.

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