COVID-19

Wyoming Legislature

The Wyoming House Corporations Committee voted to advance a bill that would place limits on the power of public health officers.

Polls show Americans are increasingly interested in getting vaccinated against covid-19, but such surveys are largely national, leaving a big question: When the vaccines become available to the general public, will enough people get it in your county, city or neighborhood to keep your community safe?

Last week, Texas joined Montana and a handful of other states in lifting its statewide mask mandate, a move that runs counter to warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ivan Radic via CC BY 2.0

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon will remove the statewide mask requirement starting on March 16. In a press release sent out Monday morning, Gordon also announced he would lift all restrictions on bars, restaurants, theaters, and gyms, allowing them to resume normal operations on that same date.

Wyoming State Legislature

Should the legislature be allowed to regulate statewide public health orders? 

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The Wyoming Senate's Health and Labor committee voted 3-2 to limit the power of the governor and public health officials regarding a public health order.

Health officials hope the newly approved Johnson and Johnson vaccine will accelerate progress in vaccinating rural and homebound residents in the Mountain West. But there’s some unnecessary confusion over the shot’s efficacy.

Vaccine appointment frustration is pretty common these days. And because of challenges with hospital systems, a lot of people are turning to pharmacies to get their COVID-19 vaccine. However, it's still a pain to track down information on every pharmacy's website.


Wyoming PBS/Screenshot

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said the state of the state is good, despite a difficult financial year thanks to COVID-19. During his annual address, Gordon said the damage of the virus will last a long time.

Over the weekend, the FDA approved a third COVID-19 vaccine. The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe disease, promises to boost inoculation rates in Mountain West states, including rural areas. 

State of Wyoming


Wyoming's legislature meets next week and among the topics will be education spending and budget cuts. Gov. Mark Gordon joined Bob Beck to talk about a number of things including some of the budget challenges the state is facing.

Wyoming Department of Health

Gov. Mark Gordon announced he has relaxed several public health orders, as well as the complete removal of one. The changes will go into effect on March 1.

Diane Huntress, 74, lives in Denver and says trying to get a COVID shot for her and her husband David is like applying for a job.

“I can't talk to anyone," she said. "There's no phone number and all the emails we get say, ‘Do not reply.’ And the problem is, where can I go, can I get there, and when are they going to have it?”

She says vaccines take up all the oxygen among her social circle, too: "I can't see anybody, an acquaintance on Zoom without the question, ‘Have you gotten the vaccine yet?’”

Latino and Black people are generally more vulnerable to COVID-19, yet they remain far less likely to have received a vaccine, according to the latest demographic data from the CDC.

Zigmar Stein / Adobe Stock

The Centers for Disease Control has said proper ventilation in indoor settings can cut down the spread of COVID-19. But how can you tell whether a space is in fact well ventilated?

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

President Biden and Vice President Harris acknowledged a grim milestone Monday: the deaths of more than 500,000 Americans from COVID-19.

Biden and Harris, along with first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff, emerged from the White House at sundown. They stood at the foot of the South Portico, covered in 500 candles honoring the dead, and listened to a Marine Corps band play "Amazing Grace" as they held a moment of silence.

The pandemic's economic toll has left many in the Mountain West struggling to feed their families. In fact, Nevada and New Mexico have some of the highest rates of child food insecurity in the country, according to a report published last fall by the nonprofit Feeding America.

Wyoming Department of Health

The Wyoming Department of Health is looking for input on how it will approach the next four-year state plan on aging. The state's plan on aging looks at the needs of older adults and care partners.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

President Biden on Friday sought to turn the page on former President Donald Trump's "America First" ethos, declaring "America is back" and vowing to rebuild trust with European allies by working on challenges like arms control, COVID-19 and climate change.

Wyoming Department of Transportation

The Wyoming Department of Transportation has announced the results of its 2020 aviation economic impact study.

According to the study, aviation generates around $2 billion directly or indirectly in Wyoming each year. It adds that the industry supports nearly 22,000 jobs and $942 million payroll throughout the state and not just in aviation.

MR. Pockets, via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license

In 2020, Governor Mark Gordon asked school districts across Wyoming to start considering what a 10 percent funding cut would look like. And even more recently lawmakers are suggesting cuts around 6.5 percent.

Cassidy Enloe

Quick and accurate COVID-19 testing is a key part of getting the pandemic under control. And a Laramie company is part of the effort to make that a reality. Wyoming Public Radio's Ivy Engel talked to CellDrop Biosciences founder, Ben Noren, about the type of testing they are developing.

In the Mountain West and across the country, states are rolling back COVID-19 restrictions like mask mandates and allowing more people to gather. While this was largely a response to reduced infection numbers, new strains of the virus are on the move.


Cassidy Enloe

A company called CellDrop Biotech is part of a $354,000 grant taking on the task of creating a faster and more accurate rapid test for COVID-19.

Gun sales have spiked during the pandemic, and retailers are running low on ammunition all around the country.


U.S. Secretary of Defense

February has brought a couple of changes to Wyoming's COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Even with more doses of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine delivered this month, State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist told Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska that the biggest challenge is the state not having enough vaccines.

Public Domain


Many small businesses throughout the country have taken a hit during the pandemic. But in Wyoming, various grant programs have helped businesses, nonprofits and even churches whether the storm.

Ling Li


Lunar New Year begins on February 12, 2021. And usually, the holiday involves huge festivities with fireworks, dancing, and family reunions. But as the pandemic continues into this year, the celebration will look and feel different this new year. Wyoming Public Radio's Naina Rao reports this story.

Jenni Wildcat

Since December, Wind River Cares has been distributing the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Distribution is now happening at Great Plains Hall in Arapaho to allow for social distancing while the health care workers administer the vaccines.

Wyoming Department of Health

For the past month, two COVID-19 vaccines have been available in Wyoming and there have been two priority groups that the Department of Health designated.

The first were health care providers and law enforcement. The second included those over the age of 70, correctional staff and funeral service practitioners.

But now Wyoming state health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist said they have expanded the second priority group.

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