Amid surge, Wyoming hits pause on easing COVID-19 orders
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming will keep current public health orders to contain the coronavirus in place for two more weeks amid a surge in reported cases, Gov. Mark Gordon said Monday.
State officials had been gradually easing up on restrictions in a process that began May 1. They have allowed dining-in at restaurants to resume and bars to reopen, for example.
The recent increase in known cases makes clear the threat of COVID-19 to Wyoming’s health and economy isn’t going away, Gordon said in a statement.
“No one wants to see the progress we have made vanish, but that requires each of us to make a concerted effort to slow the spread of the virus,” Gordon said.
Gordon urged Wyoming residents to practice good hygiene and social distancing and to wear a mask in public where keeping at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart isn’t possible.
The announcement came as the Wyoming Department of Health reported 1,450 laboratory confirmed and suspected coronavirus cases in the state, including 1,070 people who have recovered from the illness. The number of active cases was Wyoming’s highest to date, though only seven people with COVID-19 were hospitalized, one of the lowest counts so far.
The number of COVID-19 deaths in Wyoming — 20 — has held steady since June 19.
Worldwide, the number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported numbers because many people haven’t been tested and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.
For most people, the 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.
Under the ongoing state public health orders, no more than 50 people are allowed to gather in confined spaces without restrictions. Up to 250 people are allowed to gather if they practice social distancing and there’s adequate sanitizing.
Faith-based gatherings and funeral homes will continue to be allowed to operate without restrictions, though social distancing remains encouraged.