Health officer orders closure of Wyoming businesses
March 19, 2020
A 19th case of coronavirus was reported in Wyoming on Friday as the state’s residents adjusted to the state health officer's ordered closure of bars, museums, fitness clubs and other businesses in the state that tend to draw crowds.
The Wyoming Health Department reported that a new case of COVID-19 -- the county's ninth -- was reported in Fremont County. No other information about the case was immediately available.
The diagnosis came after Dr. Alexia Harrist issued the closure order Thursday to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 in a move endorsed by Gov. Mark Gordon.
“Wyoming, like all Americans, must commit to reducing the strain on our health care system,” Gordon said in a news release. "These are hard measures and they will be difficult for employees and businesses alike, but they are warranted.”
Harrist’s orders closed child care facilities, bars, theaters, gymnasiums, all public schools, the University of Wyoming and community colleges until April 3.
Restaurants were allowed to remain open for curbside takeout and drive-through service only.
Gordon had earlier said he would leave the decisions on such closures up to local authorities but said in his news release Thursday he decided uniformity was needed in deciding what businesses should close.
“This governor has never been inclined to overstep local authority, but these are unprecedented times,” he said. “It is critical that there is uniformity across the state in how social distancing measures are implemented.”
Before Harrist’s order was issued, three counties had taken such action: Teton on Wednesday and Park and Laramie on Thursday.
All three counties have coronavirus cases — one each in Teton and Park and four in Laramie County.
Gordon addressed the state via Facebook on Thursday evening, where he spoke of the need for unity in difficult times.
Meanwhile, Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr urged businesses in her city allowed to remain open to pay close attention to the guidelines for preventing the spread of the illness and perhaps go so far as to cut back on their hours or reduce their workforce.
Orr also urged employers to let their employees remain at home to take care of their families without cutting their salaries.
“Many employees no longer have daycare available to them, have family or they themselves may be health-compromised and they are in fear of losing their job if they stay home,” she said in a statement. “When we have a workforce that is asking to be released for two weeks so as not to lose their job going forward, it speaks volumes.”
Symptoms reported with this disease are familiar: fever, cough and shortness of breath. There are many different coronaviruses, some of which cause the common cold in people and others that circulate among animals.
Experts believe COVID-19 spreads mostly between people who are in close contact and through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most ill with obvious symptoms. A person may also get COVID-19 by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.
Recommended steps that can help avoid the spread of COVID-19 or similar illness include:
·Avoid close contact with sick people.
· While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
·Stay home if sick.
·Cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
· Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
· Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60 percent alcohol.
For more information about cornoavirus in Hot Springs County visit facebook page Hot Springs County COVID-19
For more information about coronavirus disease 2019 in Wyoming, visit: https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/.
For more details about the disease from the CDC, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.