As of Monday, there were 12 active cases of COVID-19 in Park County. There were two counties — Hot Springs and Niobrara — with zero active cases. There have been more than 48,000 confirmed cases statewide, and more than 8,700 probable cases. Sadly, these cases resulted in 701deaths. Not to make light of the residents who have been ill or lost their lives to this pandemic, but this state has been one of the luckier ones compared to the likes of California or New York.

But the restrictions are being rolled back in the Cowboy State. Masks are no longer required most places, with exceptions in place for some schools and businesses where concerns have not waned for various reasons. Those reasons could include high risk employees or places like schools where the population finds it difficult to practice social distancing.

People are able to get out more, go to the places they formerly enjoyed and by so doing, start moving the economy forward and communities back toward the new normal.

The improvements have been made possible in large part by the availability of the vaccine against the virus.

According to the Wyoming Department of Health, there have been more than 212,000 first doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines administered and 168,600 second doses given. There have been 24,400 doses of the single shot vaccines administered. That equates to 193,000 Wyomingites who are fully inoculated against this virus and, if research is correct, protected against most if not all of the variants springing up across the globe. This doesn’t include doses given at pharmacies, by tribes, at Veteran’s Administration sites or on military bases.

Here in Park County there have been 9,525 first doses of the two-shot series given, 7,462 individuals who are fully vaccinated, and 89 single dose shots administered. That means 7,551 Park County residents who should be feeling much safer about their health.

All that being said, this is no time to become lax in preventative measures. For example, it is unclear whether a fully vaccinated person can spread the virus to an unvaccinated individual. There have been very few cases of patients who contracted the virus even though they were fully vaccinated, but those cases are extremely rare.

However, we should all keep in mind that it is possible to spread or contract the virus, even when fully vaccinated, and continue to follow safeguards to keep those around us safer.

When you plan to enter a facility where it isn’t possible to social distance, consider wearing a mask, even if you are fully inoculated. It isn’t a hard and fast rule anymore, it is just showing regard for your fellow man. This may be a crowded grocery store or a school. It isn’t hard to look around and see how concerned others around you are. If almost everyone at a particular shop or store is masked up, or if the owners or operators of the facility ask you to wear one, does it really hurt you to wear one? Is your comfort more important than the concerns of those around you? Probably not. If it is that important, just use another venue. No harm, no foul.

There are other, similar guidelines that aren’t hard to continue using, and should be part of simple courtesy, which isn’t that common these days.

For instance, staying home when you are sick or keeping your child home if he/she is running a fever. That used to be part of Parenting 101. If they are at home, they aren’t making other children sick, or spreading it to their teachers or caregivers, who in turn can spread illness to their own or other children in their care. Before long the whole Sunday school class or the entire third grade is sick and missing school, meaning someone somewhere is staying home, missing work to care for them.

Granted, staying home with an ill child isn’t fun and neither is missing work. But the benefits to the many outweigh the cost to the few.

Wash your hands more often, and lather up for those — elderly or the very young — who might not do it for themselves. A little soap and water can go a long way toward keeping everyone healthier.

Lastly, do your best to socially distance. That means staying out of others’ personal space. This, too, used to be common courtesy, but it seems to have been lost somewhere along the way. Besides the potential to spread illnesses, it is downright rude. There is no reason to walk so closely to someone else that they get clipped by your grocery cart. And if shoppers need to visit with someone, the whole group could move to an unoccupied corner rather than blocking the entire aisle, making keeping one’s distance impossible. Be courteous. It can be that simple.

Powell Tribune

April 13

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