First COVID-19 Case Reported In Wyoming

Mar 11, 2020

Map of the COVID-19 outbreak as of 11 March 2020.
Credit Pharexia

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) has reported an adult female from Sheridan County with recent domestic travel has tested positive for COVID-19.

The announcement Wednesday evening followed a lab test from the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory in Cheyenne. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will conduct further testing, but the test result will be considered a "presumptive positive."

"We expected to identify a case in Wyoming at some point because the reach of the disease is clearly growing. Travelers to certain affected locations and close contacts of ill people are still overall at the highest risk of becoming ill," Dr. Alexia Harrist said, the state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH.

She said the current risk of transmission within the state remains low for most residents.

WDH is following up with the "presumptive positive" patient's exposure risk and will monitor anyone whose had close contact with her.

"Our state has been planning for this situation for weeks and we will continue our coordinated efforts to address this threat," Governor Mark Gordon said in the press release. "I pledge to work closely with our state agencies, federal partners and local officials to ensure we are implementing all the necessary steps to protect public health."

Harrist said symptoms reported with this disease are familiar: fever, cough and shortness of breath. There are many different coronaviruses, some of which cause the common cold in people and others that circulate among animals.

Experts believe COVID-19 spreads mostly between people who are in close contact and through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most ill with obvious symptoms. A person may also get COVID-19 by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.

For more information about coronavirus disease 2019 and Wyoming, visit:
https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Cooper McKim, at cmckim5@uwyo.edu.