Compiled from Wyoming News Exchange newspapers
The number of Wyoming patients to recover from confirmed cases of coronavirus was almost half of the state’s total number of confirmed cases on Friday, according to Wyoming Department of Health figures.
The department reported that 105 patients had recovered from the virus — meaning they showed no symptoms of the illness for three days — while the state’s total of confirmed COVID-19 cases stood at 239.
The statewide case count increased by nine on Thursday, with new cases found in five counties, including the first case detected in Niobrara County.
Five new cases were reported in Teton County, where the total count stood at 50 as of Friday morning. Johnson, Laramie and Uinta counties also each saw their case totals increase by one.
As of Friday morning,, Laramie County had 54 cases; Teton County had 50; Fremont County had 38; Natrona County had 27; Sheridan had 12; Campbell and Johnson had nine; Sweetwater had six; Washakie had five; Albany, Carbon, Converse, Lincoln and Uinta each had four, and Crook and Goshen counties had three. Niobrara, Park and Sublette counties each had one case.
Laramie and Teton counties had the highest number of recoveries at 22 each, while Natrona recorded 12.
Meanwhile, state officials and officials with Wyoming’s hospitals reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had either diverted medical supplies away from the state or canceled orders for supplies.
Gov. Mark Gordon said during a news conference Wednesday that supplies requested from FEMA, including face masks, face shields, surgical gowns, gloves and ventilators, had not been delivered. State figures indicated Wyoming asked for 75,000 medical respirators, 97,000 surgical masks, 74,000 surgical gowns and 2.2 million gloves.
Gordon said the orders for the supplies had been “pre-empted” by FEMA so the goods could be delivered to coronavirus hot spots such as New York City.
In addition, Eric Boley, director of the Wyoming Hospital Association, said orders to private vendors from two Wyoming hospitals were also pre-empted. Boley said one of the hospitals was specifically told that FEMA pre-empted the order.
In other developments:
Days off: Laramie County Commissioners have voted to give the county’s employees two extra days off so they can take a break from working during the coronavirus pandemic. Commissioners agreed employees have worked hard to do their jobs in the face of coronavirus. “In light of that, and in light of the way the world is as we know it, and the challenges and the anxiety that goes with it nowadays, we see this as an opportunity to kind of give a little bit of a bonus to our employees,” said Commissioner Troy Thompson. Employees were given Friday and Monday off.
Missing masks: Casper police are investigating the disappearance of hundreds of face masks from the Wyoming Medical Center’s laundry. The center said Wednesday that between 800 and 1,000 cloth masks — all donated by community members — disappeared. Police said they have no leads or suspects at this point.
Air service canceled: United Express Airlines has reduced its service between Riverton and Denver to one flight per day. The airline said the decision was based on a “significant reduction in demand nationwide in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.”
Masks donated: A coalition of Jackson groups donated more than 11,000 special face masks to the city’s hospital and first responders. Roadhouse Brewing Co., the Fine Dining Restaurant Group, the Jackson Hole chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization, and Convergence Investments paid for the KN95 masks, which filter 95 percent of all particles. The masks are generally only available to medical workers, first responders and others in close contact with people who may be infected with the coronavirus.
NOLS layoffs: Officials with the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander have announced they will lay off 59 percent of the school’s seasonal staff, both inside and outside of Lander, and reduce hours or pay for 29 percent of the school’s non-seasonal staff. In a letter posted on the NOLS website, President Terri Watson said without the cuts, the school would not remain viable in the future.
Goshen County graduation: Goshen County school board members have decided to proceed with both the prom and graduation ceremonies for Torrington High School. Goshen County School District No. 1 trustees agreed this week to proceed with plans for both events, even though the dates are uncertain. Graduation for all three high schools in Goshen County is set for May 24; however, board members agreed to monitor conditions and adjust the date as necessary. “I think it’s very important to have a ceremony wherever that lies,” said district Superintendent Ryan Kramer.
Easter egg hunt alternatives: With social distancing measures in place, Wyoming communities are getting creative in how they stage annual easter egg hunts.
In Kemmerer, Diamondville and Opal, residents are being given egg-shaped pieces of wood to decorate and put on their lawns. Families will then drive around the communities spotting the eggs in a kind of scavenger hunt.
The game will be similar in Crook County, where residents of Sundance, Hulett and Moorcroft will be directed to different addresses in the communities by clues available on the Crook County Senior Services Facebook page. People who identify the correct addresses will be entered in a drawing for a prize.
In Evanston, cars will follow a curving path through the Evanston High School parking lot while children hold out baskets or paper bags. People stationed at different points along the way will give the children Easter eggs.
Take it outside: An Evanston movie theater is taking advantage of approaching spring weather to move movie showings outside. Aspen Cinemas is painting an external wall of its theater to make it possible to show movies on the wall. It will then operate as a drive-in theater, showing two movies a night Thursday through Sunday.