COVID-19

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.

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.

Off Square Theatre Company

Theatre and performance institutions throughout the state have suffered during the pandemic but grants are helping out. The National Endowment for the Arts has provided a grant to the Off Square Theatre Company in Jackson.

screen shot by Tennessee Watson

On Monday, Dec. 14, the Joint Appropriations Committee heard Wyoming Department of Family Services' Director Korin Schmidt present her department's plan to cut its budget. This comes after Gov. Mark Gorden announced last month he wanted the state budget reduced by an additional $500 million, following 10 percent cuts in July.

Panic buying has slowed down considerably since this spring, but one thing still lingering is higher demand for meat that's easier for people to cook themselves.


dfs.wyo.gov

Child care is a massive expense in the best of times, but as the pandemic surges across Wyoming, those costs have grown.

Indoor dining is allowed across the Mountain West. But new research shows that even with current social distancing guidelines, the coronavirus can spread easily inside restaurants.

Shafin_Protic via pixabay.com

The public health departments in Casper and Cheyenne received their first COVID-19 vaccine doses on Monday, December 14, and hospitals in Cody, Jackson, and Gillette are expected to get their vaccine packages on Tuesday.

States across the Mountain West are receiving their first shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. And the Moderna vaccine will be coming once it's granted emergency authorization by the FDA. But as distribution gets underway, other COVID-19 prevention measures including frequent hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing will still be necessary. 

Evictions have cascading effects, and researchers have found they could be fatal during the COVID-19 pandemic. A new study draws the connection between a lack of stable housing and an increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

U.S. Centers For Disease Control

A new report from the University of Wyoming's survey center shows a majority of Wyomingites are willing to take a vaccine once it becomes available. But there is still a large faction who thinks a vaccine is unnecessary.

Wyoming Department of Health

Campbell County Health (CCH) has added a new unit to handle the increase in patients needing to be hospitalized.

The unit will have 10 additional beds for non-COVID patients and the hospital is working on establishing another additional unit to handle the needs caused by continually increasing COVID-19 hospitalizations.

UTAH PUBLIC RADIO

There is a lot of confidence from Wyoming's health officer over the possibility of a vaccine being made available to state residents. But it might take a while before most of us get access to a vaccine, that's because a couple of them are still in the trial phase. Companies are testing vaccines using people from across the country.

One person who's part of the process is Madelyn Beck, she's a former reporter for Wyoming Public Radio who's been closing following COVID-19 as part of her current job as a reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She spoke with Bob Beck about what the testing process is like and what interested her in becoming a guinea pig for the secret serum.

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