wyoming department of health

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A bill passed during this year's legislative session requires the Department of Health to consult with affected stakeholders as it develops a redesign plan for the state-funded behavioral health system.

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Mid March, the Wyoming Department of Health noticed health information had been released to the public. An employee mistakenly uploaded files containing COVID-19, influenza, and breath alcohol test results data to a public online storage location belonging to Github.com.

This released over 164,000 Wyoming residents and others health information.

Wyoming Department of Health - State of Wyoming


Since the start of the pandemic, some Wyoming residents and business owners have indicated that state officials, especially the Governor and the state health officer, had a heavy handed approach to health orders.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Legislature has approved a bill that changes how health orders are issued. It gives the governor and county commissioners power to approve extended health orders in a pandemic.

Inside the Wyoming State Capitol Building
Bob Beck

A bill that gives more power to elected officials when it comes to public health orders has passed the House.

The measure requires county commissioners to sign off on the extension of a local order after ten days, while the governor would do the same regarding a statewide order.

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The Wyoming House of Representatives is debating a bill that would limit public health orders to ten days and require elected officials to agree to extend the order.

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Gov. Mark Gordon announced last week that most statewide health restrictions would be lifted. He cited a drop in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths as encouraging data.

Mask usage is still highly recommended by the Wyoming Department of Health indoors and when proper social distancing can't be maintained.

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The Wyoming Senate has narrowly passed the bill that would establish a taskforce to evaluate the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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 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.

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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.

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Jackson like other communities throughout the state are dealing with an increase of COVID-19 cases.

The Teton County Public Health Response Coordinator Rachel Wheeler said most testing has been done at the hospital. But they were worried not everyone could easily get there. So the state Department of Health stepped in and provided two Curative kiosks. They are staffed by Curative providers.

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Last week, public health officers sent a letter requesting Gov. Mark Gordon to create a statewide mask mandate as COVID-19 cases surge and hospitals are filling up. But at a press conference, Gordon did not announce any new restrictions.

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Gov. Mark Gordon is proposing more than half a billion dollars in cuts to state agencies in his supplemental budget.

At a press conference on Monday, Gordon said that after July's round of 10 percent cuts, it was time to look at which departments could absorb more.

Wyoming Department of Health

October marks the first month the Wyoming Children's Health Insurance Program is run by the state’s Department of Health. 

Also known as Kid Care CHIP, the program provides health insurance benefits for low-income children. It was previously operated by a private insurance company.

Wyoming PBS

Gov. Mark Gordon said the number of new COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations in the state is very concerning. He addressed the rising metrics during a press conference on Monday.

Catherine Wheeler

High school wrestling and basketball have gotten approval to start on time this year.

The Wyoming Department of Health has approved plans for athletes to start practice November 23.

The Wyoming High School Activities Association (WHSAA) says it will be using similar precautions used during fall sports, like keeping players in pods during practices and health screenings.

Several state agencies are working together to ensure kids are safe when they return to schools.

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH), the Wyoming Department of Education and Wyoming Office of Homeland Security are helping distribute 500,000 face coverings between school districts for when students return in the fall. The coverings were paid for by a donation from clothing company Hanes and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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In the past month, Wyoming saw 700 new COVID-19 cases. At a press conference Gov. Mark Gordon said this is partly the result of people not following social distancing recommendations during the fourth of July holiday.

Wyoming Department of Health

The Wyoming Children's Health Insurance Program, also known as Kid Care CHIP, will transition from a private insurance company to the processes in place already for Wyoming Medicaid. 

This means it will be taken over by the Wyoming Department of Health. In the past, a private insurance company administered the program. 

Wyoming Department of Health - State of Wyoming

Wyoming continues to see new COVID-19 cases at a very high rate, and it has some officials nervous as the fourth of July weekend looms. State Health Officer Alexia Harrist said at a news conference that people need to social distance and start wearing face coverings in order to stop the surge.

She said it's becoming clear what factors have driven the numbers up.

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The Wyoming Department of Health will now allow in-person visits at long-term care facilities, but under specific guidelines.

Wyoming Department of Health - State of Wyoming


In early 2020, very few people had ever heard of Dr. Alexia Harrist. Since that time, the State Health officer has become a well-known and important figure as she tries to guide the state through the COVID-19 pandemic. Harrist has lately been opening things up. She told Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck that she's optimistic as the state deals with tourists and other challenges.

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Five staff members and four residents of the Worland Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past week, bringing the county's total to 13 as of Monday afternoon.

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