Casper mayor says possible county-wide 'shelter in place' order would be a joint decision - Casper, WY Oil City News
Oil City News Logo

Casper mayor says possible county-wide ‘shelter in place’ order would be a joint decision

(City of Casper, Youtube)

CASPER, Wyo. — Casper Mayor Steve Freel said during a Friday, April 3 press conference that it would be a joint decision among various local leaders were Natrona County to issue a county-wide ‘shelter at home order.’

As of 2:40 pm Friday, no such “shelter in place” or “stay at home” order has been issued in either Natrona County by the State of Wyoming. However, Governor Mark Gordon on Friday extended existing COVID-19 related statewide orders through April 30.

Freel responded to a question regarding who in the county would have the authority to issue a county-wide “shelter in place” order.

Article continues below...

“I do feel that we need to clarify this,” he said. “Decisions, first of all, if they do not come from the state level or from the governor and they come from the county, it is a joint decision that is made from the doctors that are involved along with leadership from the city and the county commissioners themselves.”

Natrona County Health Officer and infectious disease specialist Dr. Mark Dowell had said at a Wednesday press conference that he thought it advisable for people to consider that COVID-19 could impact “the area a lot through May.”

Dowell told reporters after the press conference that in his personal opinion, a statewide “stay at home” order across Wyoming should be issued to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

“When 41 out of 50 states have already done it I think it is time to strongly consider that,” Dowell said.

Freel said that Dowell, if he saw fit, would recommend such an order to other county-area officials, who would then take that into consideration and make a joint decision.

“He’s not advocating that and he’s not wanting to do that at this time, but if the orders are not followed, that is a recommendation that will be coming,” Freel said he understood to be Dowell’s position, adding, “This is a joint decision that will be made.”

In a phone conversation following the press conference, Dowell told Oil City that he would indeed consult with not only county and city officials, but also state officials, before bringing such a recommendation forward.

Dowell added that joint input from multiple leaders in the county and city would go into shaping any possible county-wide orders or decisions.

Freel’s comments came toward the end of this press conference Friday:

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:

  • 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.