COVID-19

Updated at 8:37 p.m.

President-elect Joe Biden outlined his plans for economic relief from the coronavirus crisis on Thursday, citing the need for a more robust vaccination plan as well as for additional direct payments to American families to help recover the U.S. economy. His plan, called the American Rescue Plan, is expected to cost $1.9 trillion.

Fred Drews

As the director of education and programs at the Meeteetse Museums, Amy Phillips said part of her job is to document history, adding 2020 was a historic year.

Public Domain

During Teton County's weekly COVID-19 update, St. John's Health CEO Paul Beupre said the vaccine progress is going pretty smoothly in the county. Yet, he said the state is not receiving as many vaccine doses as it should be, according to the amount of vaccine the federal government has purchased.

 

State lawmakers across the Mountain West are convening for legislative sessions that will focus largely on the fallout of the pandemic. But without significant precautions, statehouses could become hotbeds for COVID-19 spread.

Legislative sessions typically bring together hundreds of lawmakers, legislative staff, lobbyists, journalists, and members of the public. They travel to and from every corner of a given state and gather indoors, sometimes in cramped meeting spaces.

Natrona County Health

Starting this Wednesday, January 13, residents of Natrona County 70 or older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The opening in eligibility marks the Casper-Natrona County Health Department's (CNCHD) move to the next phase of its vaccination rollout.

Credit: Bastian Weltjen / Adobe Stock

About a third of Americans living in rural areas say they probably or definitely would not get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

When the COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will partner with retail pharmacies such as Costco and Walgreen to help distribute them. But a new analysis of rural counties finds that as many as 750 counties don't have one of those pharmacies.

U.S. Secretary of Defense

It has been about three weeks since Wyoming received its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Since then, the state has been busy trying to get the vaccine out to the first priority groups.

Once the first vaccine shipments came to Wyoming, the state's department of health and local experts took federal guidance and amended it for the state.

Will Laegried

The University of Wyoming (UW) has prioritized testing for its community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its testing program started at the beginning of the school year and has been an important tool as UW monitored the presence of the virus.

Melodie Edwards

Right when the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was approved, the federal government started shipping boxes to states, and the Moderna vaccine was only a week behind. Since then Wyoming has received over 25,000 doses, but only 35 percent of those have been administered as of January 7.

https://www.wyomingsense.gov/cares-act


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act, was the largest stimulus bill ever passed in the United States. Wyoming's cut - $1.25 billion - went to various sectors of the economy, but there's criticism of how that money was split up and concerns that the state will need more funding as the pandemic continues.

The family of Sharon Widener

Nearly 500 Wyomingites have died from the coronavirus since April. Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler brings us this obituary of Cheyenne resident Sharon Widener.

Widener died on Oct. 29, 2020 from COVID-19. Widener is survived by her two children, a granddaughter, her siblings and extended family. Widener's daughter and son-in-law Elizabeth and Tim Thorson remember her life.

The U.S. saw its highest number of COVID-19 deaths this week. Meanwhile, in Montana, the newly elected governor is planning to rescind its statewide mask order.

 


Official VA Photo by Cynthia Neukam

The Sheridan VA has begun to vaccinate employees and high-risk veterans with a COVID-19 vaccine.

The health system in Sheridan received its first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on December 22. As of Wednesday, January 6,171 employees and 49 veterans have been vaccinated with the first of two doses.

Some of the largest and most deadly COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred in our country's prisons. The latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that incarcerated people be included in phase 1B of vaccine distribution. But most states in the Mountain West are breaking with that guidance.

Giving and full of light. That's how family and friends described May Bunjes. The 71-year-old community advocate died of COVID-19 in November. Now her family is using her death as a rallying cry.

In Weld County, Colorado – where officials have dismissed state health orders meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 – she was a court-appointed special advocate for abused children for more than 20 years.

Dulce Leyva is a bilingual contact tracer who lives in Reno, Nevada. Her job is to reach out to people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and make sure they're self-isolating. And she tries to help them remember who they've been around and could have been exposed to the virus.

Robert Kaufmann, https://nara.getarchive.net/

A state program designed to help Wyoming tenants pay rent through the pandemic dispersed just a tenth of its original allotment; the rest of that money was redirected to other areas, such as oil and gas.

Melodie Edwards

The pandemic has worsened food, health and housing insecurity across the country and in Wyoming. A new study shows that for many families in the state, these issues are front and center.

The Food Bank for Larimer County’s warehouse in Loveland looks like a factory assembly line. People are busy preparing and packing provisions for when the doors open in an hour.

"Cookies, protein bars, coffee – a little of everything," says volunteer Ruben Marez. "I kind of like to mix and match."

Every year Marez travels to volunteer with the Red Cross and help with disaster relief. This year, he decided he was needed close to home and began volunteering at the onset of the pandemic.

Eugene Gagliano

It's safe to say that 2020 has been a very difficult, trying year for a lot of people across the world. Wyoming's Poet Laureate, Eugene Gagliano, agrees. But the pandemic also made him realize a different perspective—how grateful he was to be living in the state of Wyoming.

He shared his perspective by writing a poem, called The Blessing of Wyoming. And it got published in the New York Times. He recited the poem during his conversation with Wyoming Public Radio's Naina Rao.

http://www.donlonfh.com/

The numbers of cases and deaths related to COVID-19 have dominated most media headlines this year. And funeral homes in Wyoming are included in that story. 

Public Domain


This week, Wyoming Public Radio's Maggie Mullen hosted a Facebook Live event with Dr. Rupali Limaye of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine. In case you missed it, we've put together some highlights for you to hear, starting with what it means that a recent survey found that most — but not all — Wyomingites say they would be willing to get vaccinated against the virus.

Catherine Wheeler

With COVID-19's effects on business throughout the state, there have been concerns how all of Wyoming's small businesses are faring especially during this holiday season. Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler spoke with Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce CEO Dixie Johnson about how Sheridan businesses have adapted this year. Johnson began by describing how a local holiday tradition was affected.

Cooper McKim

The holiday season is upon us and with it comes the Festival of Lights, better known as Hanukkah. Folks around the country are lighting their menorahs, including here in Wyoming. Cooper McKim spoke with Seth Ward, University of Wyoming professor of religious studies, about the holiday's special meaning this year.

Public Domain

This year, the holidays are looking different for many people across Wyoming. With concerns about spreading COVID-19 to loved ones, some are opting to stay home this holiday season. Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler brings us this postcard from some who are spending their first holiday alone.

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.

It's been a tough year for gas and oil prices, but solar power has seen steady growth during this pandemic year. 

SALFALKO / FLICKER, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

AARP is a non-profit dedicated to the wellness of people over 50. It partnered with Miami University in Ohio to provide four-week snapshots of COVID-19's impact on nursing homes residents and staff in states across the country.

Magellan Healthcare

Following Gov. Mark Gordon's request for an additional $500 million funding cut, the Wyoming Department of Health has come up with a way to shave close to $47 million from its general fund budget.

Pages