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Wyoming case count to 282, recoveries up to 164

Current as of Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Since yesterday afternoon, Campbell and Laramie counties have each reported two additional coronavirus cases; the number of cases in Fremont, Natrona and Teton counties increased by one each. The statewide total is now 282.

Compiled from Wyoming News Exchange newspapers

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Wyoming grew to 282 on Tuesday, but at the same time, the number of patients to have recovered from the illness went up by 24.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, said the number of people to have recovered from COVID-19 since it first surfaced in Wyoming in late February grew to 164 on Tuesday, meaning more than 58 percent of those diagnosed with the illness have recovered.

Full recovery is defined as occurring when a patient shows no symptoms of coronavirus for three days and has taken no medication for fever reduction.

The number of confirmed cases went up by seven on Tuesday, with new cases discovered in Campbell, Fremont, Laramie, Natrona and Teton counties.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Laramie County had 62 cases; Teton County had 57; Fremont County had 42; Natrona County had 34; Campbell County had 13; Sheridan had 12; Johnson had 11; Sweetwater had nine; Converse had eight; Albany, Lincoln and Washakie had five; Carbon and Uinta had four, and Crook and Goshen had three. Big Horn, Hot Springs, Niobrara, Park and Sublette counties had one case each.

The state last week saw its first death attributed to coronavirus.

State officials and Johnson County Healthcare Center officials on Monday confirmed the man who died last week was an older man who suffered from serious underlying medical conditions.

“While we’ve learned most people who are infected are able to recover at home without medical care, we also know people who are aged 65 and older and people who have medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and weak immune systems are more likely to experience complications and become severely ill,” Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state’s health officer, said in a news release announcing the death.

Wyoming was the last state to see a death from coronavirus.

In other developments:

Gordon praised: Dr. Athony Fauci, the nation’s most prominent infectious disease expert, praised Gordon for his efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus by closing schools and certain businesses and prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people. Fauci, who leads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said he was pleased with the state’s “commitment they’re putting in to making sure that we don’t have the situations that we’ve experienced unfortunately in other areas, this is very important.”

Local enforcement: Cheyenne’s City Council on Monday rejected a proposal to give Cheyenne police more authority to enforce the state’s health orders on social distancing. Police can now enforce the orders closing some businesses and limiting gatherings to 10 people, but the only punishment available is a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail. The ordinance rejected would have let police issue tickets carrying $50 fines for those who violated social distancing guidelines.

The council did approve an emergency ordinance allowing liquor deliveries.

Traveling less: A “mobility report” by Google shows that travel by Wyoming residents to retail locations has dropped by 37 percent since Gordon issued the orders closing schools and some businesses and limiting gatherings to 10 people. The study, which used information from Google Maps to track the movement of the app’s users, also showed a 27 percent drop in travel to business offices since the orders took effect.

Cluster of cases: Almost half of Natrona County’s 33 coronavirus cases have been tracked to the Wyoming Behavioral Institute in Casper. At least 16 cases were linked to a mixture of staff and patients at the facility.

Antibody panel: St. John’s Health in Jackson has appointed a panel to review possible antibody tests for coronavirus and recommend one for use at the hospital. The 10-member panel will look at three tests for use in testing first responders and health care workers. The tests used most widely around the country use nasal swabs to detect coronavirus, indicating whether a person is infected. Antibody tests search for the antibodies created when the body fights an infection, allowing users to determine if someone has coronavirus even if they are not showing symptoms.

Relief donation: Black Hills Energy is donating $30,500 to coronavirus relief efforts in Wyoming. The donation is part of a $375,000 gift made to eight states in Black Hills’ service area. In Wyoming, the company donated $10,000 to First Lady Jenny Gordon’s Wyoming Hunger Initiative.

Pilgrimage canceled: This year’s Heart Mountain Pilgrimage, scheduled for July, has been canceled because of concerns about coronavirus. Every summer since 2011, hundreds of visitor have made the “pilgrimage” to the site where more than 14,000 Japanese Americans were held during Worland War II. “The pilgrimage is our favorite time of the year and we will miss seeing all of you,” Shirley Ann Higuchi, chair of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, wrote in a message. “But your safety, and the safety of our members, supporters and families comes first.”

Celebration canceled: Organizers of the annual “Flaming Gorge Days” celebration in Green River canceled the 2020 event, which was scheduled to be held June 25-27. Event officials said the event requires several months of preparation which cannot happen given restrictions imposed by the state’s health orders.

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