COVID-19 on the rise

By: 
Alexis Barker

Alexis Barker 

NLJ News Editor

 

Throughout the past month, the Weston County commissioners have taken steps to make their opinion known about the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes approving a resolution voicing their concerns and removing their signatures from the public health orders presented by Dr. Mike Jording, the county’s public health officer, in March when things in Wyoming first began. 

The most recent of these steps was requesting a blanket variance to the health orders that would remove all guidelines surrounding COVID and leave the choice to individuals and businesses. Because cases are continuing to climb, however, Jording told the board on Oct. 6 that he would not sign the variance. 

Jording and public health nurse Lori Bickford have continued to stress the need for people to practice social distancing, wearing a mask when that is not possible and frequent hand washing. 

“As colder weather moves in and gatherings will be taken inside, people need to be very mindful of their physical distancing to others,” Bickford said. “Maintaining the physical distance is so important to helping prevent the spread of the virus... We can reduce the spread of the virus in our community if we follow the public health guidance.” 

Weston County School District No.1 has also reiterated the need for these precautions in order to keep kids in school.  To date, the district reports that several students and staff members have had to be quarantined due to potential exposure after being in close proximately to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

“I’d like to once again remind everyone that even in the case of actual positive tests, if both people involved in the close contact are wearing a mask, then close contacts are ordered to monitor for symptoms but not quarantine,” Tyler Bartlett, Newcastle Middle School Principal said. “We could minimize the impact of quarantine orders if all staff and students simply wear a mask when working within 6 feet of each other. If not, we continue to increase the risk of spread and continue to face the possibility of quarantine orders from the Department of Health. In absence of a district wide mask mandate, the choice is yours.” 

As of Monday, Oct. 12, at 3 p.m., Weston County had a total of 36 lab-confirmed cases and 22 probable cases. Currently, five of those cases are active, while a total of 42 have recovered, according to the Wyoming Department of Health. 

The department reports that 1,403 tests have been performed in the county and that 1% — the third-lowest rate in the state after Niobrara County at 0.42% and Lincoln County at 0.92% — of those cases was positive. 

Statewide, cases climbed to 6,628 confirmed cases and another 1,174 probable. Hospitalizations are on the rise, with 5.1% of confirmed positives spending an amount of time in the hospital as well as deaths, which totaled 54 on Monday. 

 

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