Officials: expanded testing explains jump in cases; further increases are anticipatedApr 28, 2020 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Fremont County has almost doubled in five days, according to statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health.
The WDH reported 98 confirmed cases of coronavirus Tuesday in Fremont County, up from 83 Monday, 76 Saturday, 66 Friday, and 51 Thursday.
"Most of this dramatic rise stems from expanded testing and contact tracing," Fremont County public health officer Brian Gee said in a press release Monday, adding, "We will likely see further increases in confirmed COVID-19 cases during the upcoming days and weeks."
Grocery store workers
On Saturday he said some of the new local patients include grocery store employees who did not show symptoms of the virus.
Luckily, Gee said, these employees were "diligently" wearing cloth face masks while at work.
"This likely resulted in a significant reduction of transmission of illness within the workplace and the community," he wrote, encouraging all residents to wear cloth face masks in public places "to protect others."
The use of face masks makes it easier for public health officials to conduct "contact tracing" after a new case of coronavirus is confirmed, Gee said.
He said the contact tracing procedure begins with a phone call to new patients, who are asked to identify the people they have come into contact with over the course of the past several days.
"Once the additional contacts are identified, they are called and the process is repeated," Gee said. "It is a large, painstaking task that is critical for public safety."
Any of the contacts showing symptoms of coronavirus infection are now tested, he noted, giving officials a "clearer picture of the extensive inroads this virus has made into our communities."
Gee called on all Fremont County residents to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by staying home from work, staying away from other people "if you are even mildly ill," maintaining at least six feet of distance from others at all times when in public, washing hands frequently, and wearing a mask in public.
Thirty-six people have recovered from coronavirus in Fremont County, including 31 lab-confirmed patients and five "probable" patients, who did not undergo testing but did have close contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient, according to official statistics.
Hundreds of people with coronavirus symptoms in Fremont County have been asked to self-isolate since mid-March without taking a test.
Of those, Gee said 173 patients have been in touch with local public health officials, and 110 of those had recovered as of Tuesday.