Editorial: Covering COVID-19 Throughout the Year

Editorial: Covering COVID-19 Throughout the Year

It’s been a year to the day since the first confirmed COVID-19 Coronavirus case was reported in Sweetwater County. What a year it has been.

It’s hard to believe everything Sweetwater County residents, along with the rest of the world, have gone through in a year.

As residents’ demand for COVID-19 information changed, so did SweetwaterNOW’s coverage. As a news organization, we knew residents were relying on us for accurate and up-to-date information not only for regular news, but for anything COVID-19 related. 

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At the beginning, we covered how to protect one’s self and others, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. From hand washing and social distancing to face masks and shortage of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, we covered it. Even when the name of the novel Coronavirus changed to COVID-19, we changed along with it.

As the number of positive cases started to increase throughout the state, we reported how many positive cases the state and county had. Soon, we saw ourselves adding in probable cases, recovered cases, probable recovered cases and anything else the state provided us. We were making sure to pass on definitions of probable case, recovered case, and probable recovered cases. 

Making sure residents knew the difference between a quarantine order and isolation order was also an area of focus as the virus spread through the county.

We created a webpage just for COVID-19 news, which is still active and updated daily. At one point, we even had daily podcasts to make sure everyone was informed with the latest information.

As more information became available, we changed our coverage. Soon, active case information became available and we reported those numbers. Then in July of 2020 Sweetwater County, like many others in the state, reported its first COVID-19 related death

With increasing COVID-19 cases in the county, our focus once again shifted to how many COVID-19 hospitalizations, Intensive Care Unit beds, and ventilators each hospital in the state had. From 14-day rolling positivity rates to transmission rates, we made sure to pass on any information we received.

Once again, our focus shifted as more information about a COVID-19 vaccine started becoming a reality. Our readers wanted to know who could get vaccinated and when. After preparing for the vaccine’s arrival it finally arrived to an excited healthcare community in late December. Finally on December 22, Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County administered 130 vaccines to its employees. This was the first vaccinations in the county.

In addition to COVID-19 stats, we worked hard to cover closures and reopenings. We’ve been with you every step of the way. 

We also took the time to interview community members, business owners and those directly impacted by the virus to let them tell their stories. As the vaccine is now available to anyone who wants it, we are once again re-evaluating our coverage.

With all of this in mind, we will continue to cover COVID-19 as needed, or not needed for that matter. For those who haven’t noticed, we have dialed back our COVID-19 coverage quite a bit. We are only writing one weekly story focused around Sweetwater County and Wyoming statistics. These reports come out every Friday.

We’ve also cut back on other COVID-19 coverage and are only putting out information related to the vaccine or virus we feel our readers would like to know.

We, like you, are ready to move on and get back to covering what we have in the past. As things continue to return to normal, our COVID-19 coverage will continue to decrease. However, if there is a need to pass on important COVID-19 information, we’ll be there.