Dr. Harrist: Increased COVID-19 Cases is a Result of Transmission in Communities, Not Testing

Dr. Harrist: Increased COVID-19 Cases is a Result of Transmission in Communities, Not Testing

Dr. Alexia Harrist addressed the increase in positive COVID-19 cases in Wyoming during a press conference Tuesday.

CHEYENNE — During Governor Mark Gordon’s press conference on Tuesday, June 16, Dr. Alexia Harrist, State Public Health Officer, said that while COVID-19 Coronavirus testing has increased in the state, it is not the reason for the recent uptick in cases.

“The increased number of cases that we are detecting is a result that there is transmission in our communities,” Dr. Harrist said. “We can’t use just increased amount of testing as the reasoning for all the cases we are detecting.”

She said she remains optimistic about the COVID-19 situation in Wyoming, however, the rating for new cases in Wyoming has moved from stable to concerning.

Advertisement - Story continues below...

As of Tuesday afternoon, Governor Gordon said Wyoming has had 866 positive cases, and 10 of those cases were reported Tuesday. He said the state saw 106 confirmed cases last week.

While the entire state has been seeing increases in cases the past couple weeks, Uinta County has more than doubled in positive cases. Uinta went from 35 cases to 80 in two weeks, according to Dr. Harrist.

She said a gathering where social distancing was not taken seriously is the primary cause of the increase in spread in Uinta. She said the virus was spread from people at the gathering to people who did not attend. Healthcare workers are among those infected. She said there has also been a case where one person spread the virus to coworkers within the workspace.

“A few sick workers or many sick workers can potentially have devastating effects on the businesses we count on in Wyoming for jobs and for services,” Dr. Harrist said.

She said the state is still strongly recommending the practice of “common sense social distancing” and face coverings.

Governor Gordon said the people of Wyoming cannot let up on their responsibilities to keep each other safe. He said it is “carelessness, thoughtlessness, and recklessness” that will make Wyoming lose progress.

“Let’s not lose the ground we’ve gained,” he said.

Governor Gordon said he and Dr. Harrist have not discussed having to reinstate public health orders as Gordon does not believe Wyomingites will allow Wyoming to regress that badly.

“Don’t be careless, be thoughtful. Remember we have a great summer ahead of us, and if we are the people I believe we are, we will come through this with flying colors. And we will be the place that is the envy of the nation,” Governor Gordon said.


What to do if you feel sick: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are showing symptoms, please call your primary care provider or seek medical attention.

Please follow these tips to slow the spread of this virus:

  • Social Distancing – Stay 6 feet apart from others and 
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds regularly. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue if you sneeze or cough and then throw the tissue away. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched areas. For example: door knobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, tables, keyboards, phones, toilets, faucets and sinks.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose with unwashed hands.

For current news, updates, closures and resources, please visit our COVID-19 Coronavirus page here.