The number of coronavirus COVID-19 cases in Wyoming jumped by five Tuesday, with two cases surfacing in Laramie County, one diagnosed in Park County and two more turning up in Sheridan County.
Wyoming’s case total as of Wednesday morning stood at 15.
The Wyoming Health Department announced in a news release Tuesday night that the patients diagnosed were a man and a woman in Laramie County, a Park County woman and a man and woman in Sheridan County.
The two Sheridan County cases are related to the first case diagnosed there last week.
The cases bring the county totals to eight in Fremont County, four in Sheridan County, two in Laramie County and one in Park County.
Fremont County remained the hardest hit in the state, with eight cases stemming from one infection at a retirement center.
In addition, the Lander office of the state Game and Fish Department was closed Tuesday because its employees were exhibiting signs of coronavirus.
“Employees are self-quarantining at the advice of medical personnel,” the department said.
In Teton County, theaters, bars, coffee shops and museums were ordered closed by order of Teton County Health Officer Travis Riddell.
Riddell, acting in response to the recommendations of President Donald Trump, issued an emergency ordinance closing places of business where people may congregate. Restaurants were allowed to stay open, but only for curbside takeout or drive-through service.
Enforcement of the order was to begin Wednesday.
“Teton County recognizes the predicament that today’s pubic health order puts on many of our beloved businesses an already difficult time,” the county said in a statement. “As a result, the enforcement of the order will not begin until Wednesday, March 18 … at 5 p.m. in order to give our community time to adjust.”
Emergency declarations: Lander officials issued an emergency declaration for the city Tuesday. The city, in a statement on its Facebook page, said the declaration would allow the city to obtain funding and “mutual support” opportunities from the state and federal governments.
The commanding officer of F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Col. Peter Bonetti, also declared the base to be under a public health emergency, which he said will allow the base to match the actions taken by the state to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Education: School officials in Gillette agreed to close classrooms until April 6, joining the majority of other school districts to shut down to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Albany County school officials were to meet Wednesday to decide whether schools would close.
In Kemmerer, officials with Lincoln County School District No. 1 said they would close classes Thursday, two days early for the district’s scheduled spring break. The district said its board would decide on March 27 whether classes would resume on March 30.
Government offices restricted: Rawlins and Carbon County joined the list of governments limiting access to their buildings by the public. Rawlins closed its offices to walk-in traffic and Carbon County closed all non-essential services such as the county’s library and museum.
Testing: Campbell County Hospital began drive-through coronavirus screening on Wednesday, joining facilities in Cheyenne and Rock Springs in offering the service. In all cases, patients must have been referred for testing by a health care provider before having samples collected.
Facility closures: Recreational centers and libraries across most of the state closed, as did some private business such as the Wind River Hotel and Casino.
Movie theater companies operating theaters in the state also closed their doors. WyoMovies, which operates more than 60 screens in Cheyenne, Casper, Laramie, Green River and Rock Springs announced it would close until further notice. Also closing were AMC Theaters, which operates a nine-screen theater at Cheyenne’s Frontier Mall, and Regal, which runs the Regal Fox Theater in Laramie.
Restaurants around the state began to close because of health concerns and business slowdowns.
The Plains Hotel in Cheyenne closed its doors until May because of the slowdown in business. The hotel’s owner said business normally picks up at the beginning of March, but has not done so this year.
At least three newspapers closed their offices to the public as well: the Casper Star-Tribune, Rocket-Miner in Rock Springs and the Jackson Hole News&Guide.
Events canceled: Almost any event expected to draw 50 or more people was canceled or postponed by Monday.
Churches across the state announced they would close for some time or offer services online, with the Diocese of Cheyenne suspending all Masses until further notice.
Meals for students: Schools across the state made arrangements to continue providing meals for students who rely on their schools to eat.
In Jackson, Jackson Hole High School’ cafeteria was to be open this week and students would be able to pick up two meals to take home.
Laramie County’s school districts in Cheyenne and rural eastern Laramie County announced they would continue to deliver food to students during their extended three-week spring break.