State to Increase COVID-19 Testing at Long-Term Care Facilities

State to Increase COVID-19 Testing at Long-Term Care Facilities

CHEYENNE — As the state continues to go back to work, Dr. Alexia Harrist, Wyoming State Health Officer, special consideration is being given toward those in long-term care facilities.

“Our most vulnerable populations are impacted the most during this pandemic,” Dr. Harrist said.

Dr. Harrist said the state has two plans for ramping up COVID-19 Coronavirus testing in these types of facilities.

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The first is for facilities without an outbreak. The goal is to collect samples of at least 20 percent of all residents and staff of each facilities and sent to commercial labs or the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory to be tested.

The other is for if an infection is discovered. In this case, all residents and staff must be tested weekly to ensure health officials can intervene as soon as possible.

These increased testing measures are to help ensure the state is not missing outbreaks and are able to identify trouble spots quicker to prevent further spread, according to Dr. Harrist.

Harrist said that there is “substantial evidence that asymptomatic person and persons with mild illness contribute to transmission within these facilities.”

Wearing Face Coverings is a “Sign of Respect”

Both Dr. Harrist and Governor Mark Gordon stressed the importance of wearing face coverings amid the continuing COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

“We can’t always tell by looking, or know who among the people we are contact with might be at greater risk,” Dr. Harrist said. “We also can’t know for sure if we are spreading the virus because that can start before we feel symptoms.”

Dr. Harrist said face coverings are a simple piece of cloth to cover your face and do not have to be medical masks.

Governor Gordon said that wearing face coverings is “a sign of respect.”