OPINION: Widespread Community Spread in Sublette County

OPINION: Widespread Community Spread in Sublette County

Pinedale, Wyoming | Tara Bolgiano - Blushing Crow Studio

Submitted by the Sublette COVID-19 Response Group

“This morning we learned that the number of COVID-19 cases in Sublette County continues to rise, to at least 68 total cases so far, including 14 current cases, with 45-55 people in isolation or quarantine in the Boulder, Daniel, and Pinedale areas.

Let’s be frank: Community spread of COVID-19 is now a serious issue in Sublette County. The recent jump in coronavirus cases (18 new cases in 11 days) has impacted a wide variety of age groups in the county, from teenagers to senior citizens. Some cases are mild, but some have required hospitalizations.
COVID-19 is not anything to joke about. It’s far more serious than the flu, and like other serious conditions, can be deadly.

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We need to stop spreading this virus to each other.

If our communities continue to be lax about following basic precautions, we can predict what will follow.
• We will have citizens falling ill. Most will recover, but some will die.
• We will see businesses close their doors – because they won’t have the staff to keep their business open.
• We won’t be able to practice time-honored traditions at our schools – things like homecoming dances, football games, bonfires. In fact, community spread risks our ability to have in-person education for our children.
• Our first responders will be impacted. Some of our firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and other emergency personnel will not be able to work because they have contracted the virus.

Think that sounds far-fetched? It’s not. In fact, all of these things have already happened in Sublette County. Up until now, we haven’t had too many cases, but the increase in recent cases is overwhelming some of our healthcare and responders right now.

It can get worse. We will soon enter flu season, with both flu and COVID-19 in circulation in our communities. If our county road personnel get sick and have to stay home, that increases the burden on other staff members. Don’t expect to have all those snowplows quickly clearing the roads when we have a winter storm if we have personnel out sick. COVID-19 impacts every segment of society.

We don’t have a hospital in Sublette County, so those with severe symptoms have to leave the county for treatment. Hospital cases are rising in Wyoming and in our neighboring communities.

We need every person in this county to step up and help stop the spread of this deadly virus.Let’s narrow it down as to what we need you to do. Of course, stay home if you’re sick. Beyond that, it’s three simple things: social distance, wear a mask, and practice good hygiene. If you and I – every one of us – would do those simple things, we could beat this virus. We could save lives.

The Big Piney and Pinedale football game will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, in Pinedale. We’ll be there, wearing masks, asking you to do the same.

No one can force you to wear a mask. There is no mandate. We’re asking you to help save lives, to keep our economy open, to keep our schools open. We aren’t going to argue with you, but we do plea with you to join us in helping others.

It’s a simple choice. It’s not a political statement. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s not a hoax. It’s not big brother telling you what to do.

Masks save lives. We want to save lives. We want to save our economy. We want to save our schools. We want you to help us do that, to protect our community.

Please join us in these doing these very simple things that will have a huge positive benefit to all of us.”

Sublette COVID-19 Response Group