Health officer prohibits gatherings of 10 or more, 23rd case detected

Compiled from Wyoming News Exchange Newspapers

Gatherings of 10 or more people have been prohibited in the state under an order issued by the state health officer.

Meanwhile, the state recorded its 23rd case of coronavirus on Saturday as the state Health Department announced a new case in Carbon County.

Dr. Alexia Harrist, in an order issued Friday, banned gatherings of 10 or more people until at least April 3 as a way to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“People of any age can spread this disease to others who are especially vulnerable to more serious or life-threatening illness,” she said in a news release. “We’ve recommended limits on gatherings, this order is an official step to put those recommendations in to action. Slowing and limiting the spread of the disease is our goal.”

The order came on the heels of Harrist’s order on Thursday for the closure of bars, theaters, gyms, chid care facilities and any other business where 10 or more people might be expected to gather.

Friday’s order limiting gatherings will not require the closure of any additional businesses and will not apply to grocery stores, retail businesses, gatherings at private residences, livestock auctions, government facilities, relief centers, truck stops or long-term care facilities.

Gov. Mark Gordon, in a statement expressing his support for the new order, said it has been proven that limiting social contact helps reduce the spread of coronavirus.

“I very much appreciate the willingness of our state’s residents to comply with this action,” he said in a news release. “Particularly because it is now becoming clear that young adults 18 to 50 are also at risk of being hospitalized from COVID-19.”

The number of coronavirus cases in Wyoming was set at 23 Saturday morning, an increase of five since Friday morning.

The state Department of Health announced a new case in Carbon County — the county’s first — on Saturday morning.

The department on Friday announced that one new case had been diagnosed in each of Fremont, Campbell, Teton and Natrona counties. No details were available on the new cases.

The cases were the first for Natrona and Campbell counties. Teton County’s case was the second for that county. Fremont County, still the hardest hit by coronavirus in the state, now has nine cases.

In other developments:

Coronavirus testing: As coronavirus test kits became more available to the state, the number of tests being conducted grew.

According to the Wyoming Department of Health, the state’s Public Health Laboratory had tested 409 samples by Saturday morning, while commercial labs had reported to the Health Department they had conducted 31 tests.

Health officials in three cities — Cheyenne, Rock Springs and Gillette — announced the establishment of drive-through coronavirus testing facilities, where samples could be collected from people who were referred to the facilities by their health care providers.

Sheridan officials announced they would open several testing centers to handle the demand for testing.

Health officials across the state reminded residents not to go to hospital emergency rooms for testing.

Hand sanitizer: At least two distilleries in Wyoming -- in Cheyenne and Pine Bluffs -- began work to manufacture hand sanitizer, mixing their products with glycerol, hydrogen peroxide and distilled or boiled water to make the sanitizer.

The move by Chronicles Distillery and Pine Bluffs Distilling comes after a change in federal rules that allowed distilleries to begin making hand sanitizer without prior approval.

Inmates released: About 30 non-violent inmates were released from the Fremont County Detention Center to minimize health risks at the jail.

A circuit court judge met with Fremont County’s attorney, public defender supervisor and sheriff to determine which inmates would pose a low risk if released.

Cookie deliveries: Troop leaders for the Jackson Service Unit of the Girl Scouts announced Thursday that the deliveries of Girl Scout cookies to Jackson customers would be delayed.

“While we know Girl Scout cookies will bring a little sunshine into everyone’s homebound life, we feel the risk is still too high to transmit the COVID-19 virus,” Margaret Gordon, a Girl Scout official, write in a community notice. “Some might argue cookies could be considered a necessity, but a responsible Girl Scout knows they are not.”