Gov. Mark Gordon: Stay Home, State Testing Supplies Limited

Mar 31, 2020

Credit State of Wyoming

State and health officials say the number of coronavirus cases will continue to rise, but Wyoming still lacks the resources to test everyone with symptoms.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have tripled in the last week - and that number is going to keep rising, according to state and health officials who hosted a press conference Monday.

Governor Mark Gordon has extended orders that have closed or limited businesses and schools across the state. He said last week more than 2000 test kits were shipped to communities throughout Wyoming.

"In an ideal situation, we would be able to test every person who presents symptoms consistent with COVID-19," Gordon said. "Unfortunately, that is not the situation here or anywhere else in the United States."

Dr. Alexia Harrist is the Wyoming State Health Officer. She said the disease can be spread through asymptomatic carriers and on surfaces - but that people with COVID-19 are most contagious when they have symptoms.

"We know that there are more cases than we have detected," Harrist said. "There simply aren't enough supplies for everyone to get tested."

Harrist said everyone should stay home, shun social gatherings, and only send one person to the grocery store to shop for a household. Wyoming Medical Society President Dr. David Wheeler said social distancing was necessary to protect everyone, and especially the medical staff on the frontlines of fighting the outbreak.

"We desperately need you to stay at home so we can stay at work," Wheeler said, adding businesses should pace clients to avoid crowding. He also said medical providers should stop conducting in-person appointments and that elective surgeries should be cancelled.

Gordon is also urging people to stay home whenever possible, but has not yet issued a shelter-in-place order.

"If we're going to issue a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order, it is not going to have multiple exemptions," Gordon said. "Let me repeat: It will not have multiple exemptions. It will be a true shelter-in-place order."

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Jeff Victor, at jvictor@uwyo.edu.