health

Winter is coming, and COVID-19 is still here. That means socializing is about to get harder as temperatures drop and activities move indoors.

One potential tactic is to form something called a “social bubble,” also known as a “pandemic pod” or a “quaranteam.” The gist is to join forces with another family, or small group of people, and socialize exclusively with them while maintaining a safe distance from others.

For months it appeared that the Mountain West had COVID-19 somewhat under control. But now the positivity rate is skyrocketing in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Utah.

"I feel despair," says Christine Porter, an associate professor of public health at the University of Wyoming.

A new study suggests smoke from wildfires is more dangerous than other air pollutants for asthma patients. 

TENNESSEE WATSON

Last spring, Sequel Youth and Family Services, a national organization that runs facilities for youth with emotional and behavioral problems, gained attention when a young man named Cornelius Frederick was killed by staff at one of their facilities in Michigan. This week, an APM Reports investigation revealed a pattern of abuse and harm at juvenile treatment centers run by the organization.

In the last two years, eight of Sequel's facilities have been shut down, six of which were under pressure from or amid investigations by various government agencies across the country. Currently, its facilities in Alabama are under investigation, and Ohio is in the process of revoking its facility's license. Normative Services Institute (NSI), a private juvenile facility in Sheridan, Wyoming, is run by the same organization.


Despite a record high number of 941 active COVID-19 cases in Wyoming as of Thursday, Gov. Mark Gordon announced in a press conference that there would be no new public health orders.

Could Japan Offer Lessons For Mountain West Contact Tracers?

Sep 24, 2020

Over the past few months, a number of Japanese health officials have praised their country’s contact tracing approach, saying it’s one of the “secrets” to their early success in containing COVID-19.

Care19

Wyoming has a new contact tracing smartphone app available to residents. The Care19 Alert app is potentially a more popular, more private version of an earlier state-endorsed app: Care19 Diary.

Arek Socha

A new survey finds that alcohol consumption in Wyoming has increased during the pandemic.

The controversial kind of study is called a “human challenge study” and it’s controversial because it involves researchers purposefully infecting (or “challenging”) healthy volunteers with the virus after giving them an experimental treatment or vaccine, to see if it worked.

Updated at 1:37 p.m. ET

Amid criticism from Democrats that politics may be guiding decisions at the nation's top health agencies, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration told Congress on Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine would not be approved until it met "vigorous expectations" for safety and effectiveness.

Retailer CVS announced plans last week to double its COVID-19 drive-through test sites at locations across the U.S., including in two Mountain West states.

A few years ago, Arnold Levinson and his colleagues found themselves in what he calls an ethical “pickle.”

They’d been compiling reports to distribute to Colorado schools that had participated in a state-wide anonymous survey, where students would answer questions about their drug use, food access and suicidal ideation, among other topics. The researchers had made a practice of sharing a school’s results as a courtesy for participating in the survey, but they didn’t tell them how they stacked up relative to the norm. Until 2013, when an analyst spotted something.

The Utah Department of Health reported 911 COVID-19 cases Thursday, setting a new record in the state for most new cases in a single day since the pandemic began.

Gov. Gary Herbert said due to the ongoing COVID spike, the state will postpone any decision on loosening coronavirus restrictions in counties across the state. Thirteen counties are currently in the green, new normal phase of their pandemic response, and the rest of the state is in the yellow, low-restriction phase.

The poll came from the Colorado Health Foundation but national polls over the past few months paint a similar picture.

University of Wyoming


University of Wyoming officials had high hopes for phasing students back into the classroom, but those hopes were dashed when large numbers of positive COVID-19 tests started coming in.

As of Thursday, September 10, the university had 66 active cases. And 63 of those were students, 50 of whom live off-campus.

Kevin Vandivier

Taking a vitamin D supplement may be a good idea as the summer comes to an end. Medical experts say it can provide a boost to your immune system, and may even help your body fight the coronavirus.

University of Wyoming

After five more University of Wyoming students tested positive for COVID-19, the University has paused its fall return plan.  

A new report shows that the COVID-19 recession has households in the Mountain West facing high hardship rates, especially when it comes to rent and food security.

 


For days now, wildfire smoke has degraded the air quality in much of the Mountain West, and that unhealthy air is forcing tough decisions for schools that are trying to reopen.

 


The Mountain West has seen the largest increase in mask-wearing over the last few months than any other region, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.


Wyoming PBS

Gov. Mark Gordon announced $250 million in budget cuts as the state tries to deal with a massive budget deficit of over $1 billion. Nine percent of that cut will come from the Wyoming Department of Health, which will eliminate a number of programs that serve seniors and low-income people. 

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.


Frank Fahland has been slowly building his dream house near Libby, Mont., for the past 15 years. 

"It's an Amish log home with a beautiful stain on it and the best back deck you've ever seen in your whole life," he says, overlooking pine-forested foothills and an open meadow.

Ever since the pandemic ramped up in mid-March, Fahland, 61, has been spending most days up here – away from people. Like hundreds of other folks in Libby, he's vulnerable to complications from COVID-19 because his lungs are scarred from breathing in asbestos-laced dust from a nearby mine for decades. He struggles to climb a small hill near his house before reaching for an inhaler. 

Tennessee Watson

Across Wyoming, students are returning to schools armed with masks, hand sanitizer, and the knowledge that their next day in class might be taught from a screen. In most districts teachers, staff and administration are determined to provide their students' education face-to-face.

National Park Service / Michael Oestriech

The Rural West Covid Project was conducted back in June and July, when cases of the novel coronavirus were spiking across the country.

TERRA earth

Skies are hazy across the region thanks to the many wildfires burning in the West, and that smoke is more dangerous during the pandemic. 

Stuart and Jen Robertson via Flickr Creative Commons

Carbon County has seen a spike in confirmed cases of COVID-19. The county had 83 cases on Friday, and had 154 total cases by Wednesday, August 19.

Local officials said the majority of those cases are from the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins. According to the Wyoming Department of Corrections (WDOC), there are 67 active cases among inmates and seven in staff. As of August 13, there are 573 inmates at the Rawlins facility.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming will conduct upwards of 25,000 COVID-19 tests per week when all students return to campus September 28.

Only about 20% of Americans live in rural areas, but that’s where 30% of driving and 45% of fatal traffic accidents happen.


Kamila Kudelska

Gov. Mark Gordon is extending the state's existing health orders-except for one change. Beginning Sunday, August 16, outdoor venues can hold gatherings up to 1,000 people or 50 percent of its capacity with social distancing measures.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

The Mountain West Conference, which includes the University of Wyoming, is cancelling all sporting events for the fall.

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