The number of Wyoming residents who have died as a result of coronavirus-related causes increased to 12 on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases in the state increased by 12 to top 600.
The Wyoming Department of Health reported that an older Washakie County man living at a long-term care facility died as a result of coronavirus.
The facility has been identified as having an outbreak of coronavirus, with five staff members and six residents testing positive for the disease.
The man who died had earlier been identified as having a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19.
The death came one day after the Health Department reported the death of a Fremont County man related to coronavirus.
That death prompted Gov. Mark Gordon on Wednesday to urge Wyoming residents to abide by the safety guidelines that have been handed down by state health officials to stop the spread of the illness.
Gordon, speaking during a news conference, urged people to continue wearing face masks and social distancing as they return to work or begin visiting businesses that had been closed.
“If we become complacent, we could see more people getting sick, and we would hate that,” he said. “We don’t want to lose the ground we’ve gained.”
The state’s restaurants, bars, gyms, churches and other institutions are reopening after being closed for weeks by statewide health orders. A requirement for many businesses to reopen is that their staff wear face masks.
However, Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state’s public health officer, urged everyone to wear face masks when in public and to follow other precautions that have been in place since the illness first reached Wyoming in March.
“We would ask everyone to make smart decisions,” she said. “Let’s all do our part to keep Wyoming on the right path.”
On Thursday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Wyoming grew to 608, with new cases in six counties, including the first case seen in Platte County.
As of Thursday afternoon, Fremont County had 213 cases; Laramie County had 121; Teton County had 69; Natrona County had 54; Campbell and Sweetwater had 17; Washakie had 16; Converse had 14; Johnson and Sheridan had 12; Lincoln had 11; Albany and Uinta had 10; Carbon had nine; Hot Springs had 7; Crook had five; Goshen had four, and Big Horn and Park had two. Niobrara, Platte and Sublette had one case each.
The new case in Platte County leaves Weston as the only county in Wyoming without a coronavirus case.
The number of people declared recovered on Thursday, 12, brought the total number of recoveries since mid-March to 546, including 402 among patients with confirmed coronavirus cases and 144 among those with “probable” cases.
Probable cases are defined as those where a patient has coronavirus symptoms and has been in contact with someone with a confirmed case, but has not been tested for the illness.
The number of probable cases stood at 193 on Thursday.
The number of active cases in Wyoming as determined using Department of Health figures stood at 245, including 196 patients with confirmed cases and 49 with probable cases.
The number of active cases is determined by adding the number of confirmed and probable cases – 801 – subtracting the total number of recoveries and then subtracting the number of deaths.
In other developments:
Day care: Staff members and children at a Casper day care center are being tested for coronavirus following confirmation of a coronavirus case involving a child at the center. The Casper-Natrona County Health Department announced Wednesday that the child was tested after a parent tested positive. The department also advised all 58 staff members and children at the center to self-quarantine for 14 days. The day care center has been closed until it can be cleaned and sanitized.
Test schedule: The state’s nursing homes and assisted living centers are being asked to test their staff and residents more often for coronavirus. Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state’s public health officer, said the testing will help state and local officials stave off outbreaks among older residents of the centers. Under new state rules, facilities with no coronavirus cases must test 20% of their staff and residents every other week, while facilities with confirmed coronavirus cases must test all staff and residents every week.
Legislation signed: Gov. Mark Gordon on Wednesday signed the three bills approved by the Legislature during its special session May 15-16. The bills authorize Gordon to spend $1.25 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds, and set up relief programs for Wyoming’s businesses and renters. Gordon announced he did veto one line in one of the bills so businesses that lost less than $20,000 because of the coronavirus pandemic may apply for assistance under one of the relief programs.
Fair reduced: Park County’s fair will be significantly scaled back, the fair’s board has decided. The board decided Tuesday the fair will consist of two days of market shows, a junior livestock sale and perhaps an open air concert. Features such as carnival rides, mud wrestling and the annual demolition derby usually offered during the five-day fair will not be seen this year. “This is the best we can do with how the situation is now,” said Teresa Merager, a board member for the Park County Fair Advisory Board.
Drive-in graduation: Kemmerer High School graduates are joining others in the state in taking part in graduation in their cars. Seniors in their cars will gather at the high school’s parking lot on May 30 for the commencement exercises. Then they will cruise down Main Street in a parade that will end at the school’s football field, where they will receive their diplomas.
Carbon cases: Carbon County health officials are investigating more than 100 possible coronavirus cases in the county. Jacquelin Wells, a spokeswoman for the Carbon County Incident Management Team, said the department is looking into 115 COVID-like illnesses. She added of the 115 patients involved, 67 have recovered.