CHEYENNE — Governor Mark Gordon again told Wyomingites Wednesday during his press conference to wear masks and be conscientious of fellow residents amid the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
He believes the state is seeing the effects of the Fourth of July weekend with the most recent uptick in COVID-19 cases.
Sweetwater County saw its first COVID-19-related death this week, and said he has received emails that he doesn’t “appreciate”.
“I really feel badly and I grieve along with the families of any of these people who die, so when someone sends me a note that says, ‘well these people are going to die anyway, they’re just dying sooner,’ I’ve got to say I’m offended. And as an American, I think most people are going to be offended,” Governor Gordon said.
He added there is no constitutional right for people to put others at risk.
“There is no constitutional right to go and infect somebody else, there is no constitutional right that says you can put others in harm’s way. So let’s behave and let’s be mindful of our neighbors,” he said.
“Our constitution was designed to ensure we maintain the common good,” he added. “Rights imply responsibilities and people need to take responsibility.”
The state’s COVID-19 dashboard has changed today, in which new cases is now “concerning” and total COVID-19 admissions reported by hospitals is now “concerning”.
“It doesn’t mean it’s dire at this point, but it’s very concerning,” Governor Gordon said.
He reminded residents that if they need to go to the emergency room, it is important to slow COVID-19 admissions so there is room for every day accidents or incidences that require medical attention.
Governor Gordon also mentioned that the public health orders extension went into effect on Monday which will last through the rest of the month.
“We were well on our way to relieving all of our orders, and now we’re seeing these concerning trends, and I think this is related to the people taking a more casual attitude toward what they can do,” Governor Gordon said.
Over the past month, Wyoming has seen 700 new cases of COVID-19, he said.
He said to keep fellow residents safe and to keep the economy open, people must be careful and conscientious.
“We do not want to shut down our economy again,” he said. “It’s not going to come from the governor or some governmental order, it’s going to come because the entire staff is sick.”
“Let’s practice good hygiene, social distancing, and you know what, wear a mask,” he added.
Many businesses are starting to put restrictions into place that prohibits customers to come into the business without a mask. Governor Gordon said he supports businesses’ choice and right to do this.
“If I have a business, it is my private business, and I make the decision that I don’t want people to be in there for a reason that has to do with a face mask, that is my constitutional right,” Gordon said. “And if you have a problem with that, go sue them.”
“I support the rights of private businesses taking the steps to protect their employees, and I respect the courage of the employees to go to work and I think people in Wyoming generally will respect those rights,” he said.
Governor Gordon said he still does not plan to put a state-wide stay-at-home order in place, as he believes Wyomingites will do the right thing if they are presented with the information.
Testing Is Important to Show COVID-19 Trends
Dr. Alexia Harrist, State Health Officer, said the Wyoming Department of Health is watching the cumulative percentage of positive test results to look for trends and determine how to move forward.
The past few weeks the percentage has remained relatively stable, however Wednesday the number increased to 3 percent.
Dr. Harrist said overall, the state is doing well with testing. She said they are adding saliva testing, as well as wastewater testing. Wastewater testing give an idea of whether COVID-19 is present in the community and how prevalent it is. It can also identify trends.
She said the first wastewater samples were taken last week and are now being analyzed at the lab.