Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Delta variant causing surge of new cases

County records ten new confirmed cases in last week


August 5, 2021

Crook is among the counties nationwide in which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is once again recommending everyone should wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status. The new guidance also recommends that students, teachers and staff in K-12 schools return to wearing masks.

The guidance is based on community transmission of COVID-19. In Crook County, as for most of Wyoming, this has recently been upgraded to “high,” which is the most concerning level of transmission on the CDC’s ranking system.

Only four Wyoming counties currently have a lower status: Johnson, which is listed as substantial, and Washakie, Hot Springs and Niobrara, where the community transmission is moderate at this time.

In May, the CDC rescinded its recommendation for everyone to wear masks, but the guidance has been changed due to the growing prevalence of the Delta variant. Before this variant arrived, vaccines were able to reduce the transmission of the virus by approximately 90%.

However, Delta brings with it a 1000% increase in viral load.

Vaccination is still believed to protect the vaccinated person themselves by either preventing infection or reducing the severity of symptoms. However, new data appears to suggest that fully vaccinated people who become infected, known as “breakthrough cases”, carry as much virus as unvaccinated people if they contract the Delta variant and this in turn makes it easier for COVID-19 to jump between people.

“High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky in a statement.

“This finding is concerning and was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC’s updated mask recommendation. The masking recommendation was updated to ensure the vaccinated public would not unknowingly transmit virus to others, including their unvaccinated or immunocompromised loved ones.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, Delta is now the most common variant in the United States and it spreads easily in indoor sports settings and households. The Casper Star-Tribune reports that Wyoming is leading the nation by a wide margin in testing for mutations such as Delta, with almost 19% of COVID-19 tests being genetically sequenced.

Crook County Public Health will be hosting a vaccination clinic this Friday; contact the office for more information. On Tuesday, a total of 1460 residents of this county had received vaccines, representing 19.24% of the community; at this time, Crook has the joint lowest vaccination rate in Wyoming along with Campbell County.

New Wave

Active cases of COVID-19 are once again on the rise in Wyoming. Last week, the total jumped by 65 in a single day between Monday and Tuesday, with new cases reported in 20 out of 23 counties.

This brought the number of active cases in Wyoming to 781.

On Thursday, the active case count jumped again, this time by 141. On that day, the active case count reached 922, a level that had not been seen since the beginning of February in this state.

By Monday, the active cases in Wyoming were continuing their creep back to levels last seen in February. A reported 269 new cases over the weekend were balanced by 332 reported recoveries, leaving the active case count at 979.

Case numbers have also continued to climb in Crook County, where ten new cases have been recorded over the past week. On Monday, there were 11 active cases listed within this county.

The total number of deaths in Wyoming reported to have been caused by COVID-19 increased last week to 776 with the announcement of ten more fatalities.

Two of the deaths took place in Campbell County, with one death each in Converse, Johnson, Laramie, Natrona, Park, Sublette, Sweetwater and Uinta counties.

Hospitalizations across the state remain higher than they have been since the end of the first wave in early March. On August 1, a total of 66 patients were hospitalized due to COVID-19, including one in-patient at Crook County Memorial Hospital.


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