Wyoming dead last in U.S. for roadway safety during pandemic, National Safety Council finds - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Wyoming dead last in U.S. for roadway safety during pandemic, National Safety Council finds

A Wyoming Highway Patrol vehicle is seen after it collided with a semi that failed to yield to emergency vehicles during a call on Sept. 9. No one was injured. (WHP via Facebook)

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming is dead last among the 50 United States when it comes to roadway safety, according to a new National Safety Council (NSC) report.

The NSC evaluated states on how well they have protected citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Despite COVID-19 claiming more lives than accidental drug overdoses, motor vehicle crashes and falls combined, the State of Response: State Actions to Address the Pandemic report uncovers an inconsistent approach that has jeopardized safety – and may have imperiled it for years to come – due to the pandemic’s impact on issues such as addiction, traffic and workplace safety,” the NSC report states.

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The NSC looked at how effectively states have performed on the following categories during the pandemic:

  • employer COVID-19 guidelines: how well states implemented COVID safety guidelines for the workplace such as social distancing, testing, contact tracing, cleaning and the use of face coverings
  • COVID testing: evaluated the state’s positive test rate and whether a state exceeded federal testing standards
  • contact tracing: whether a state hired enough contact tracers, implemented technology to support contact tracing efforts and whether a state implemented contact tracing standards for the workplace
  • mental health and substance use: looked at criteria such as whether states have Medicaid expansion, telehealth parity, behavior health offered through telehealth, DEA waivers for opioid treatment,
  • roadway safety: whether states allow red light and speed cameras to increase traffic safety law enforcement, whether states allow officers to stop and cite motorists for not wearing seatbelts and whether ignition interlock requirements for convicted drunk drivers exist

“Each state’s overall rating was calculated based on the summary of its ratings in each key area, and, using that data, was given an ‘on-track,’ ‘lagging’ or ‘off-track’ distinction,” the NSC says.

Wyoming’s scores on the criteria were as follows:

  • employer COVID-19 guidelines: Lagging (score of 3.5)
  • COVID testing: Lagging (score of 1)
  • contact tracing: Lagging (score of 1.5)
  • mental health and substance use: Off-track (score of 3)
  • roadway safety: Off-track (score of 0)

Only 12 states received an overall “on-track” rating in the report. New Mexico, New York, California, Rhode Island and Washington had the highest overall ratings.

The NSC shared which states scored the highest and lowest on each criteria.

“The states with the most and least comprehensive employer guidelines are”:

“The states with the best and lowest ratings for testing criteria are”:

 “The states with the best and lowest ratings for contact tracing are”:

“The states with the best and lowest ratings for addressing mental health are”:

 “The states with the best and lowest ratings for roadway safety are”:

“Many states have shown ingenuity and grit when it comes to protecting citizens, while others fell short,” NSC President and CEO Lorraine M. Martin said in the release. “This report is intended not as a condemnation but as a challenge to states to learn from each other and do better – and a reminder to employers that our workers are the lifeblood of our country, and their safety is paramount.”

“By coming together, we believe states can improve overall safety and health outcomes and strengthen our economic recovery.”

The NSC said the report is based on recommendations they identified through the SAFER effort which aims to help provide guidance to businesses during the pandemic.

“The report also highlights best practices and includes recommendations on ways states can better address these issues, including engaging workplaces, increasing testing and contact tracing capacity, supporting mental health of all citizens and doubling down on roadway safety best practices,” the NSC says. “NSC created the SAFER: Safe Actions for Employee Returns effort in April to provide businesses with guidance, tools, and solutions to help them better navigate the pandemic.”

“NSC also monitored the collective efforts to keep Americans safe and healthy. To share the broader implications of our national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NSC will host the State of COVID-19 Response Summit, presented by SAFER on December 9. Aimed at helping businesses, policymakers and leaders, the summit will feature new reports and offer solutions for working together to keep workplaces safer across the country today and long after this crisis has ended.”

The full report can be accessed online.

The Latest Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health:

What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.

If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.

Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.

For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email: covid@cnchd.org

  • Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.