CASPER, Wyo. – It was only a week ago.
On Thursday morning, March 12, Casper’s hotels were full, and just like every year for decades, the first day of 3A/4A high school basketball championships were underway.
Then it all changed.
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The tournament was canceled after the 9 a.m. game. Hotels guests “left in a huge flock,” according to one manager. Restaurant managers who staffed and stocked for hundreds of guests were left stunned.
The previous day, the first confirmed case of coronavirus COVID-19 was reported in Sheridan County. By Thursday, as realization the virus was spreading wildly across the country, national sporting and entertainment events started canceling.
Casper wasn’t immune. After the high school tournaments were canceled, dozens of scheduled conventions, shows and concerts pulled out at breakneck speed.
Then on Sunday, counties started closing school districts. The governor announced he recommended all schools close, and Natrona County followed his advice.
Over the following days, essentially everything that relies on people gathering and socialized was suspended.
Church, movies, bars, concerts, plays, ski resorts. Remaining restaurants scrambled to implement new safety measures and offer new delivery services.
Toilet paper and shelf-stable food vanished from stores as coronavirus cases increased around Wyoming and surrounding states.
What was almost unimaginable to most just one week ago is, at least for now, a “new normal.”
It’s been only a week. It feels so much longer.
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: firstname.lastname@example.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.