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Buffalo Veterans' Home Has A COVID-19 Outbreak

Catherine Wheeler

The Veterans' Home of Wyoming is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. As of Thursday, Dec. 17, more than half of the residents have tested positive.

Until recently, the long-term care facility in Buffalo had been free of COVID for both residents and staff. Now, the facility is in strict lockdown as local and state health officials work to get the outbreak under control. Currently, 42 residents are positive for the coronavirus and three are hospitalized.

"All residents are staying in their rooms. The meals and their medicines and everything like that is being delivered to them. We have separated all of the COVID residents from the non-COVID residents," said Lisa Osvold, the senior administrator for the aging division at the Wyoming Department of Health.

She said the staff hopes this will get the outbreak under control.

"We're really hoping by separating individuals, and being on this strict lockdown that we will have peaked really soon. And we will start seeing a decline in the number of positive cases per day, we are testing twice a week, and we're also doing rapid tests as needed," she said.

Osvold said they are also experiencing some staffing issues because of the outbreak and they've been able to work with the state and the local hospital to get more staff into the facility.

She added that she hopes communities as a whole are taking the virus seriously, as health care workers are a part of those communities.

"I just think it's really important for individuals to wear a mask or some sort of face covering when they are out in public," she said. "Our staff live and work in our communities. And if they are out and about doing necessary business, such as grocery shopping or going to the bank, they may unintentionally be exposed to COVID and unknowingly take it back to the facility. So although the staff do everything they can do to mitigate the risk, the risk is always there."

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu

Catherine Wheeler comes to Wyoming from Kansas City, Missouri. She has worked at public media stations in Missouri and on the Vox podcast "Today, Explained." Catherine graduated from Fort Lewis College with a BA in English. She recently received her master in journalism from the University of Missouri. Catherine enjoys cooking, looming, reading and the outdoors.
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