GCPH, WDH reports 166 total COVID-19 cases last week; 162 were from WMCI

GOSHEN COUNTY – On Tuesday, Goshen County Public Health (GCPH) and Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) reported 166 new COVID-19 probable/positive cases from July 1 through July 12; at least 162 cases were from Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution (WMCI) in Torrington.

Wyoming Department of Corrections Media Relations Specialist Paul Martin told the Telegram, “Last week (July 4 through July 8), the facility (WMCI) tested 100% of staff and inmates for COVID-19 which resulted in 162 positive inmates and 20 positive staff cases.”

“The vast majority of these positive cases are not symptomatic,” Martin said. “It is important to remember that an individual can test positive for up to 90 days following exposure.”

Martin also stated the correctional facility had not tested the entire prison population “for a couple of months – it is very possible that many, most of these were exposed in the past 90 days” prior to testing last week.

On Monday, WMCI tested 100% of staff and inmates again who had not previously tested positive to identify any new transmissions. “The results of this week’s test will give us a much better picture of an actual outbreak, and if so, how big it may be,” Martin explained.

As a result of the 182 positive cases in total reported by WMCI, Martin said, “all inmate services have been curtailed – there is no visitation at the present time and staff and inmates are all required to wear masks.”

“In keeping with our past practices when we have outbreaks, we manage them so as to reduce continued spread and facility lockdowns are the best way we can do so,” Martin explained. “While they are uncomfortable, they are necessary and temporary – we follow (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) CDC guidance for correctional facilities in these practices.

According to data provided by WDH, the county began seeing an increased number of cases June 28 through June 30, reporting at least seven cases each day. On July 5, 132 cases were reported for Goshen County, many of which were positive test results from WMCI.

In response, Goshen County Public Health spokesman Ryan Wunibald issued a press release and statement and moved the county to Community Level: High (red).

“Goshen County Public Health is reporting a high community risk factor for this week” Wunibald wrote. “We have seen very, very, large increases in positive cases reported through the state since we last sent out this report.”

“This is due in large part to a very high outbreak of positive cases at the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution prison outside of Torrington, Wyoming,” Wunibald explained. “Over 90% of those cases were not working staff – thank you prison staff for what you do even with health hazards in your facility.”

According to GCPH, there have been a total of 3,537 cases, which includes 57 deaths and one resident currently hospitalized.

According to WDH, there have been a total of 3,578 COVID-19 cases in Goshen County, which includes 57 total deaths: 967 cases were reported in 2020 and includes 21 related deaths; 1,474 cases were reported in 2021 and includes 32 related deaths; and so far in 2022, 1,134 cases have been reported and 4 related deaths. WDH reported its data includes 57 Goshen County resident deaths relating to COVID-19 and one resident is currently hospitalized in Goshen County due to COVID-19.

Goshen County has not had more than two individuals hospitalized for COVID-19 since Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14; when five residents were hospitalized. According to WDH, as self-reported from local hospitals, Goshen County has not had more than seven individuals hospitalized due to COVID-19 at any given time since the pandemic began. The latest high occurrence of hospitalizations occurred Jan. 21; the other two high hospitalization occurrences happened on Oct. 26, 2021 and Sept. 12, 2021.

Due to the higher number of cases reported from WMCI, the county case rate per 100,000 population is 83.26.

GCPH wants to remind residents the next vaccination clinic will be held Tuesday, July 26 at the Pony Express Room in the Lincoln Center, 436 E 22nd Ave., Torrington, next to the Torrington Police Department. The clinic is by appointment only and residents will need to call 307-532-4069 or 307-715-0068 to schedule an appointment prior to the vaccination clinic date.