Coronavirus In Wyoming: Resources & News

Wyoming Public Media is here to keep you current on the news surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Do you have specific questions about the virus in Wyoming, you or your family’s health, what this means for your job, your home and your town's economy? Please submit them here and we'll do our best to report the information you need.

We also want to hear from you on how your community is responding. Tell us what you're seeing, hearing and experiencing in your neighborhood, grocery store and beyond.

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On social media, use the hashtag #COVID19WY.

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In what's looking more like a public health debacle, the U.S. has a serious testing problem with the coronavirus. Only around 15,000 people have been tested so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And public health experts say that's not nearly enough to know how widespread the outbreak is and how to respond.

But the Food and Drug Administration has just approved a new test from the giant pharmaceutical company Roche that could represent a major breakthrough.

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

There is one reported case of COVID-19 in the state. The Wyoming Department of Health reported a Sheridan County woman was confirmed to have the novel coronavirus.

Sheridan Memorial Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Addlesperger said the patient is staying at home and feeling better, as of when she was diagnosed. Some people who have had contact with her are in quarantine, but haven't shown any symptoms as of now, he added.

This is part of a new series looking at pressing coronavirus questions of the week. We'd like to hear what you're curious about. Email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

President Trump on Friday declared that the coronavirus pandemic is a national emergency, a designation that frees up as much as $50 billion in federal assistance to state and local governments overwhelmed by the spread of the virus, and makes it easier to surge medical resources to areas that need them most.

Remote rural towns are a good place to be early in a pandemic, as they tend to be more spread out, which potentially means fewer chances to catch a bug. Remote rural areas are also, by definition, way removed from major seaports, airports and often even big highways. So it generally takes longer for new viruses to show up in tiny towns, like Fredonia, Kan.

"I always say it's a hundred miles from anywhere," says Cassie Edson, with the Wilson County Health Department. "It's a hundred miles from Wichita, a hundred miles to Joplin, a hundred miles to Tulsa."

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

Top state officials on Thursday said the risk for the coronavirus in the state remains low.

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) said there is still only one reported case of COVID-19 in the state. A woman in Sheridan County was confirmed to have the coronavirus on Wednesday, March 11.

public domain

In an announcement made Thursday afternoon, Acting University of Wyoming President Neil Theobald said spring break would be extended to two weeks, with students returning on March 30. And while the university is holding off on moving classes completely online, the extended break is meant to give faculty time to prepare for distance learning in case it becomes necessary.

Ted Brummond, University of Wyoming Photo Service

Two major actions ​regarding sports ​activities across Wyoming came on Thursday because of concerns over COVID-19. 

Map of the COVID-19 outbreak as of 11 March 2020.
Pharexia

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) has reported an adult female from Sheridan County with recent domestic travel has tested positive for COVID-19.

The announcement Wednesday evening followed a lab test from the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory in Cheyenne. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will conduct further testing, but the test result will be considered a "presumptive positive."

Teams around the world -- including at least two labs in the Mountain West -- are racing to develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus. 

A group at Colorado State University is working on ways to inactivate the virus, which is one option for developing a vaccine. 

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

What concerns do you have about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) affecting Wyoming?

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Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

State officials say there are no known cases of coronavirus in Wyoming, but they have plans in place to try and minimize an outbreak.

Updated at 10:17 p.m. ET

Hours after the White House rejected the idea of appointing a coronavirus czar, President Trump on Wednesday put Vice President Pence in charge of the administration's response to the disease.

"We're doing really well, and Mike is going to be in charge," Trump said, noting that Pence's experience as governor of Indiana made him adept at working with state and local health authorities.

"This is not a czar," the president later added.

Washington State Department of Agriculture

It's not uncommon for livestock to get certain strains of coronavirus. But the strains that affect cattle and other farm animals are not the ones raising fears of a global pandemic.

Thousands of cases of the coronavirus have been reported worldwide, with most occurring in China. However, the outbreak is sure to have big economic impacts in the U.S.

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