State Officials Stress Simple Actions, Like Wearing A Mask, To Prevent COVID-19 Spike

Jul 16, 2020

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In the past month, Wyoming saw 700 new COVID-19 cases. At a press conference Gov. Mark Gordon said this is partly the result of people not following social distancing recommendations during the fourth of July holiday.

Gordon said the rising number of cases and hospitalizations is concerning.

"I[t] doesn't mean it's dire at this point but it's very concerning. And as I said back in April and the early part of May, if you break a leg, if you get into a car accident...and you need to get to the ER and you need to get to an ICU, if you had a heart attack, we want to make sure you have room in there. That it's not completely filled with people who have COVID-19," said Gordon.

State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist reiterated that simple actions like staying six feet away from others and wearing a mask in public will help reduce COVID-19 transmission so that the economy can remain open.

Harrist used a weekend of failing to social distance at a Uinta County bar as an example of how not following recommendations can be devastating to the economy and the community.

"Many people were ill. Others couldn't go to work because of their exposure to the virus," said Harrist. "Local businesses were temporarily closed and some healthcare offices were forced to close affecting both staff and their patients."

Gordon said nobody has a constitutional right to infect someone else, so people should respect neighbors, friends and family. Gordon said he will not issue a statewide mask mandate but will support local mandates as needed.

According to Harrist, the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory has increased its testing capacity to about 750 per day. The lab is adding salvia testing to test correctional facilities. Plus, Harrist said the lab is starting to test wastewater in the larger cities of the state, which will help track the presence of the virus in the community.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Kamila Kudelska, at kkudelsk@uwyo.edu.