COVID-19

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Legislature is planning a hybrid session in March that will be both remote and in-person after the governor and lawmakers agreed to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to interested legislators and other key players.

As the pandemic continues to slow down the court system around the U.S., the situation in Idaho stands out.


 

Karlets Dennison's favorite place to be was on a horse. Preferably with loved ones riding alongside him.

"That was his love. His horses, his ranch, his rodeo," said his wife Debbie Jackson-Dennison. "And he loved sharing it with his kids and his granddaughter."

As highly contagious coronavirus variants spread, health experts in the Mountain West and beyond are urging people to upgrade and double up their masks.

The COVID Relief Bill passed by Congress last month includes a substantial sum of money for rental assistance across the country. Which agency or organization will be tasked with dispersing Wyoming's cut has not yet been decided.

Wind River Start Up Challenge

The Wind River Start-Up Challenge is an annual program that provides seed money, mentorship and workshops for budding entrepreneurs on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Catherine Wheeler

Despite the pandemic, Wyoming graduation rates rose again last year. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said the statewide graduation rate was at 82.3 percent. It's the seventh straight year there was an increase.

As President Joe Biden calls for a 100-day mask challenge, a new study finds the majority of adults in the U.S. still don't wear masks consistently when they socialize with people outside of their household.

Credit: Bastian Weltjen / Adobe Stock

Albany County is opening COVID-19 vaccines to the second priority group this week. That includes search and rescue staff as well those who are over 80. It is the last county to open to this group and the only one not opening up to 70 and over yet.

A new report finds that pandemic-related job loss will cause twice as much chronic homelessness than the 2008 Great Recession, with Latinos and African Americans especially vulnerable.

Department of Defense photo by Lisa Ferdinando

For almost a year, Susie Scott hasn't been able to volunteer or see her children without a mask for longer than five minutes.

"That human touch is, I don't care who you are, everybody needs that," said Scott.

As the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines unfolds in the U.S., numerous questions around distribution, supply, hesitancy and efficacy persist. Experts from Harvard and the CDC will tackle these questions.

Watch an expert panel discussion on the effort to deploy against COVID-19 on Friday, Jan. 22, to be live-streamed here at 12 p.m. ET, as part of The Forum at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

You can email your questions to theforum@hsph.harvard.edu.

Some of the Mountain West's COVID-19 hotspots have been, and continue to be, areas with major ski resorts.


Adobe Stock


Rebecca Travers lives in Casper, Wyo. Until late last year, the 42-year-old had been working at a non-profit that helps volunteer organizations across the state.

A love of apocalyptic horror films may have actually helped people mentally prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic. At least, that's according to research published this month in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.


Taylar Dawn Stagner

According to NPR, Animal shelters across the nation saw an uptick in adoptions during lockdown to cope with isolation. Two Wyoming shelters hope the dogs stay adopted and aren't returned to the shelters because there's now a lack of kennel space due to local courts being backed up.

Pixabay, Public Domain

The pandemic has made the position of county public health officer more than just a part-time job: it has become political. So far, two officers in Wyoming have been removed from their positions and one has resigned. Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska spoke with Washakie County's public officer, who did the work for ten years until he was removed by the commission this past fall. Dr. Ed Zimmerman said before the pandemic, the position was relatively easy.

The Loaf Project

One day in December, Jade Thoemke, a middle school teacher, got a call from the Sheridan Junior High School secretary to come downstairs to the office. The reason? There was a loaf of bread waiting for her.

Updated 5:06 p.m. ET

On Friday afternoon, President-Elect Joe Biden shared a detailed plan to tackle the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, promising to fight the pandemic with "the full strength of the federal government."

In a speech in Delaware, Biden laid out his five-part plan for how to speed up the vaccination campaign: Open up vaccine eligibility to more people; create more vaccination sites; increase vaccine supply; hire a vaccination workforce; and launch a large-scale public education campaign.

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.

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