Wyoming COVID-19 measures to ease, university plan approved
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Gov. Mark Gordon announced plans Wednesday to allow schools to reopen and people to gather in larger numbers indoors despite a surge in coronavirus cases in one county.
University of Wyoming trustees, meanwhile, approved plans to resume in-person classes this fall if the school gets $25 million in state funding to offset the cost of guarding against the virus.
“Wyoming has made outstanding progress to date,” Gordon said in a statement. “Folks need to remember that it is important to remain vigilant, but because we have been so successful, I am confident we can continue lifting the very few remaining public health restrictions.”
Under new public health orders to take effect Monday, up to 250 people will be allowed to gather indoors if they practice social distancing — keeping at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart — and sanitation measures. Up to 50 people will be permitted to gather indoors without such measures.
Class-size restrictions will be lifted for childcare facilities. Personal care services will no longer have to be appointment-only.
Under a plan university trustees approved for the fall semester, students, faculty and staff will need to wear face coverings while on university grounds or conducting university business, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.
Students and staff would all need to be tested within 10 days of arriving back to campus. They would need to routinely check their body temperature and record their status in a phone app.
The school hasn’t held classes on campus since March.
“While the united work of everyone to go online in March resulted in a successful spring semester, the message is clear that we need to return to the on-campus experience,” acting university President Neil Theobald said in a statement.
Uinta County in southwestern Wyoming confirmed 11 new cases of the virus in the previous 24 hours, bringing the county’s total to 35, according to the state Department of Health.
The local surge raised Wyoming’s total confirmed coronavirus cases to 768. Of those, 612 people have recovered.
The number of people killed by COVID-19 rose Tuesday to 18 with the death of an adult woman from Fremont County. A fourth resident of a Washakie County nursing home died in Montana and will be added to that state’s total.
Outside Uinta County, new infections in the state were low, with no more than two new cases in any county.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.