CHEYENNE — During a press conference Wednesday afternoon Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon once again warned Wyoming residents of the rising concern of COVID-19 Coronavirus in the state.
“By now I expect most of you understand there is a surge of COVID-19 cases that began early last month and is continuing,” Governor Gordon said.
He added that this isn’t as much a “curve” as it is “more or less a straight line headed upwards.”
State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist said that it was six weeks ago when the COVID-19 situation in Wyoming started to get worse.
On September 8, Harrist noted:
- The average number of cases over the previous 14 days was 28. Yesterday, October 20, that number was 152.
- The percentage of positive cases over the previous 14 days was less than two percent. Now, it is well over five percent.
- The number of reported hospitalizations due to COVID-19 was 18. Yesterday, 67 hospitalizations were reported.
Additionally, there are now 23 longterm care facilities across the state that have COVID-19 infections within them.
“Six weeks ago, Wyoming was in a much better position with this virus than we are today,” Dr. Harrist said.
The Wyoming Department of Health has reported 61 Coronavirus-related deaths so far, which Dr. Harrist said is “far more than double the number over a similar time period from out worst flu season in decades”.
However, despite the daily rising numbers and the concerning number of hospitalizations throughout the state, the state is not at this time planning to implement further COVID-19 state public health orders.
“I continue to believe in taking personal responsibility,” Governor Gordon said. “Part of that responsibility, for us, is to be honest about this virus. It is not chicken pox, it is not the flu, and it is certainly not a cold.”
Dr. Harrist said there is not a set threshold for putting more public health orders in place, as they must consider the entire situation. She explained that the state now has more tools against the virus such as testing and preventing transmission.
Those tools for preventing transmission are:
- Social distancing of at least six feet when possible
- Use of face masks when social distancing cannot be upheld
- Hand washing
- Staying home when sick
Dr. Harrist said that even with public health orders, the state must rely on personal responsibility to practice these safety precautions.
Governor Gordon said that he believes firmly in the Wyoming and United States Constitutions, and that is why he believes personal responsibility is the key to preventing spread of COVID-19.
“I respect every aspect of the Constitution of the United States, which is why I have such a strong belief in our ability as Wyoming citizens to make a difference in the spread of this COVID,” he said.
However, he said residents need to be aware of how their actions can impact others.
“When we act irresponsibly, we put our liberties, we put our economy, and we put our government in jeopardy,” Governor Gordon said.