health

Updated 11:35 a.m. ET

When it comes to testing for COVID-19, there are two competing narratives. The Trump administration claims the U.S. has been doing well and has enough testing capacity, for states to begin to enter the first phase of the White House plan for reopening.

But many public health officials, hospital administrators and state leaders disagree.

Earlier this week, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said during a CNN interview that a lack of testing is a problem and "has been since the beginning of the crisis."

A panel of experts convened by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends against doctors using a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19 patients because of potential toxicities.

"The combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin was associated with QTc prolongation in patients with COVID-19," the panel said.

QTc prolongation increases the risk of sudden cardiac death.

Savannah Maher

 

The CARES Act, which sets aside nearly $150 billion for state and local governments, also includes $8 billion to keep tribes afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribal governments could start to see that aid beginning this week.

Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET

The U.S. Senate has approved a measure to add roughly $484 billion in new funds to bolster the already record-breaking coronavirus response legislation.

The Senate passed the legislation by unanimous consent on Tuesday. House leaders were planning a vote for Thursday.

Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department would support legal action against states that continue to impose strict social distancing rules even after coronavirus cases begin to subside in their respective states.

In a Tuesday interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Barr called some current stay-at-home orders "burdens on civil liberties" and said that if they continued and lawsuits were brought, his department would side against the state.

Four members of the Northern Arapaho Tribe who had tested positive for COVID-19 died from complications of the illness on Monday. Chairman Lee Spoonhunter of the Northern Arapaho Business Council shared the news with the tribal community during a live web address on Tuesday morning.

Federal health officials estimated in early April that more than 300,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 if all social distancing measures are abandoned, and later estimates pushed the possible death toll even higher, according to documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. Some outside experts say even that grim outlook may be too optimistic.

The documents, created by the Department of Health and Human Services, spell out the data and analysis the agency is sharing with other federal agencies to help shape their responses to the coronavirus.

How are wildland firefighters expected to battle blazes during a pandemic? That's not entirely clear, but a bipartisan bill proposed by Mountain West lawmakers aims to help ensure firefighters' safety.

Wind River Family and Community Healthcare


While the state of Wyoming hasn't issued a stay-at-home order, tribal members on the Wind River Reservation face fines and even jail time for violating one there. The reservation is also one of the only places in the state where mass COVID-19 testing is being conducted. Wind River Family and Community Healthcare, which is operated by the Northern Arapaho Tribe, is offering testing to any tribal member who wants it and quarantine housing to those who test positive.

Dr. Paul Ebbert, Chief Medical Officer of Wind River Family and Community Healthcare, spoke with Wyoming Public Radio's Savannah Maher about the clinic and the tribe's strategy for flattening the curve.

Flickr - Live Once Live Wild under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

COVID-19 has many people concerned about the health and safety of their loved ones. For some people, that includes their pets. One question is whether the virus can be passed on to their dog or cat or if they can pass the virus to humans.

Yellowstone National Park

Thermus aquaticus is a bacteria found in Yellowstone's thermal lakes - it's what gives some their brilliant yellow color. It was discovered almost 50 years ago, and it turns out to be a key component in most COVID-19 testing.

As data emerges on the spectrum of symptoms caused by COVID-19, it's clear that people with chronic health conditions are being hit harder.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming is waiving out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 treatment for its members.

State of Wyoming

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon says despite calls to reopen businesses he prefers to take a more conservative approach as Wyoming approaches the COVID-19 peak for the state.

He speaks to Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck about his thoughts on keeping people isolated, dealing with an economic downturn, and what's in store for the state.

health.wyo.gov

Two Wyoming State Hospital patients have tested positive for the coronavirus. Two adult females were transferred to the Wyoming State Hospital in Evanston from a Casper behavioral health facility for reasons not connected to COVID-19 initially. 

CDC

The Wyoming Department of Health announced it will start updating the number of probable COVID-19 cases in addition to lab confirmed cases. These are individuals that have taken the COVID-19 test and received a positive. While a probable case is someone who has had close contact with a lab-confirmed case and has symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

Savannah Maher

Members of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes now face fines of up to $150 and even jail time for violating a stay-at-home order on the Wind River Reservation.

Jared King (Navajo Nation Washington Office) / Flickr Creative Commons

The massive federal relief package called the CARES Act includes an $8 billion tribal stabilization fund, meant to keep tribal governments afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But the fine print of the law entitles Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) to a slice of that fund as well.

Star Valley Health

Nationally, New York, South Dakota and many other states are experiencing an overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients. But Wyoming isn't projected to reach its peak number of coronavirus cases until early May.

Vanessa Hoene


The coronavirus doesn't discriminate and can spread to anyone. Including pregnant mothers like Vanessa Hoene.

The Trump administration announced new guidelines Thursday for states to reopen businesses and schools and relax social distancing measures, but public health experts say the plan skirts a major hurdle needed to safely get things moving: a shortage of tests for the coronavirus.

NIH

Allergy season is here. For many of us, that means lots of sneezing and itchy eyes. So how can you tell the difference between seasonal allergies and something more serious, like COVID-19?

Being able to test for coronavirus infections is a critical component to reopening society — even a little bit — after the initial wave of COVID-19. So there is an urgent need for faster, cheaper tests than the ones available at present.

President Trump spoke to governors Thursday, outlining recommendations for states to reopen based on several factors.

The Trump administration has shared a guideline of three phases for states to begin easing social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders, according to a copy of the guidelines obtained by NPR's Tamara Keith.

The U.S. Postal Service is in trouble. It was already losing billions of dollars every year. Then COVID-19 happened.

Wind River Family and Community Healthcare/Lisa Yawakia

COVID-19 testing resources remain limited around Wyoming and the country. But one clinic that's operated by the Northern Arapaho Tribe has emerged as a leader in the state when it comes to testing.

cBill Oxford / Unsplash

As shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders get extended further into the year, some local governments across the Mountain West are threatening jail to enforce those orders. But groups like the American Civil Liberties Union say that's the wrong approach.

Wind River Hotel and Casino

 

The Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes' casinos have been shut down for weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And they're not alone. Across the country, more than 500 tribal gaming enterprises have closed their doors. That means an abrupt loss of revenue for tribal governments, which, unlike cities and states, don't have a tax base to fall back on.

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

Shelby, Mont. is home to a lot of wheat and barley fields, a decent high school football team, and an Amtrak train that passes through town twice a day. It's a place where almost everyone knows everyone. 

"The people here are fantastic," says William Kiefer, CEO of the only hospital in the county that offers 24/7 emergency medical services. "There's a huge sense of community."

So when people began getting sick and even dying from COVID-19, it hit hard. 

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