What does ‘stay home’ mean?

FAQs about the governor's plea

SHERIDAN — Earlier this week, Wyoming residents were urged by Gov. Mark Gordon and other top state officials to stay home and “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Your voluntary actions and discipline are going to make the difference as to whether we can slow the spread of COVID-19,” Gordon said. “You can make a difference in Wyoming for you, your family and your neighbors.”

The plea was issued in the midst of announcements that more than 20 governors have ordered residents to stay home, including several of Wyoming’s neighbors, Montana, Idaho and Colorado. Gordon emphasized that he hoped public participation would help the state avoid such stringent measures.

The Sheridan Press researched answers to frequently asked questions about what the stay-at-home request means, best practices and why officials say it should be upheld.

When is it justifiable to leave the house?

For most states with stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, residents may leave the house for essential activities, such as buying food and seeking medical treatment.

Is it OK to go outside?

Yes, you may go outside to walk, run and play guilt-free — if you maintain the social distancing standard of staying 6 feet from others.

“As long as you are able to isolate outside, there’s a lot of room in Sheridan County to go outside by yourself or with your family,” said Sheridan County Sheriff Allen J. Thompson. “And as long as you’re not chatting with people you see on the pathway or touching any commonly used surfaces that could be contaminated.”

Why should we stay home?

COVID-19 is highly contagious. The disease may be spread between people who are within 6 feet of each other, through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes and by touching a contaminated surface or object and then touching one’s face, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The average incubation period for COVID-19 is five days but can take 2-14 days: An infected person may not develop symptoms for 14 days after contracting the virus. Spread may be possible before symptoms are shown, so people may unknowingly be passing the disease along to family members, coworkers and fellow grocery shoppers.

In addition, while many young, healthy adults only exhibit minor symptoms, and the highest risk is posed to older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions, COVID-19 can be dangerous to people of all ages and fitness.

“Anyone, no matter how old you are, has the chance of getting sick and hospitalized,” explained Kim Deti, public information officer at Wyoming Department of Health. “...And we know if we stay away from others as much as possible, it helps protect ourselves, and our families, and our communities and those who are most vulnerable.”

People who are ill — whether or not they are displaying symptoms related to COVID-19 — should especially stay home, Deti added.

“The goal is limiting and slowing the spread of disease,” she said. “...We don’t want to overload the hospitals. People are still going to have babies, they’re going to have heart attacks and unfortunately accidents. We all need access to health care to continue.”

In addition, anyone who has traveled outside of the area should also be sure to stay home, according to Sheridan County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hunter.

“Whether it be for spring break, work or other reasons, strongly consider a period of self-quarantine after returning to the Sheridan area,” stated a press release from the Sheridan County Commission Incident Management Team.

What about my kids?

Children are welcome to play, as long as they are only in close contact with members of their household.

Hunter “strongly urges parents to keep children home and not gather with friends,” the IMT release reads. “This includes avoiding playdates, sleepovers and other activities where children and adults could potentially congregate.”

“Everyone can help and contribute to this,” Thompson said. “It’s very, very important that everyone keep that social distancing, stay at home and not interact with the public.”


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