WDH urges caution as COVID-19 cases pass 1,000

Face coverings, physical distancing

CHEYENNE — As the state's reported number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase by double digits each day, Wyoming Department of Health urged Wyomingites to continue taking simple steps to limit the spread of the virus, saying it is "more important than ever" in a press release.

As of 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, there are 1,016 lab-confirmed cases, 266 probable cases and 20 deaths reported among Wyoming residents.

“We expected to see more cases over time and believe we are in a better position to respond now than earlier,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH. “However, this virus has shown us simple actions and choices that might not seem like a big deal at the time can harm others and quickly change the disease picture within a community. That’s why we need people to be mindful of what they can do to slow the spread of the virus.”

Harrist said experts have learned more over the last several months about COVID-19, which is still a relatively new virus.

“We now know some individuals can transmit the virus to others before they feel or show any symptoms," she said. "This is very important because it means people can spread the virus to other people without realizing they are infected.

“It’s also become increasingly clear the virus spreads mainly between people when they are close to each other,” Harrist continued. “When an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, the tiny respiratory droplets they produce can spread through the air to people who are nearby, typically within 6 feet.”

Harrist said it is critical for people who have symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19 to stay home from work and away from others unless medical care is needed and to ask a medical professional about testing.

“We’ve seen examples of people spreading the virus among coworkers," Harrist said. "Depending on the size and nature of the employer, a few sick workers or many sick workers can have potentially devastating effects on the businesses we count on for jobs and services."

Physical distancing is recommended whenever practical "because it’s not always possible to know if you are infected," added Harrist. 

WDH also recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where it is not possible or reasonable to stay physically apart because they can help block virus transmission. Cloth face coverings can purchased, made or adapted from common items and materials at low cost. They should not be placed on children younger than age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or anyone who can’t take the covering off without help, according to WDH. 

Harrist also asked people to respect directions they may receive if told they have been exposed to the virus.

“If you receive a personal public health order it is important to follow the requirements,” she said. “Isolation and quarantine orders are one of our most important strategies to help limit the spread of a disease and to help prevent the infection of vulnerable individuals.”

Isolation orders are generally issued for people who are known to have a disease, while quarantine orders are intended for people who have been potentially exposed to a disease as close contacts. 

COVID-19 symptoms, which may appear 2 to 14 days after virus exposure, include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. 

Older residents and people with certain health conditions have a higher risk of developing more serious or life-threatening complications.

More Wyoming COVID-19 information, statistics and recommendations can be found here.


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