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Gordon extends COVID-19 orders to April 30 as health officials call for shelter-in-place

(Wyoming PBS via YouTube)

Governor Mark Gordon announced he is extending the state’s orders for social distancing through April 30.

In the same release sent Friday afternoon, he also directed a 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving into Wyoming from another state our country. The order excludes work-related travel and is intended to reduce the spread of coronavirus by discouraging out-of-state visitation.

Earlier today, Natrona County Health Officer Dr. Mark Dowell told the Casper Star-Tribune he was considering asking for a county mandatory shelter-in-place order if the governor refuses to do so statewide.

Gordon has repeatedly refused to issue a shelter-in-place order even as health officials in the state continue to push for stronger measures.

“The Governor continues to emphatically state that people need to stay home whenever possible to prevent or slow the spread of the virus,” said today’s release from the governor’s office.

The governor doubled down on his position after Dr. Dowell, an infectious disease specialist, told the Casper Star-Tribune he was “still advocating a shelter in place for this state.”

Earlier this week Dr. David Wheeler, President of the Wyoming Medical Society, also urged the governor to issue a shelter-in-place order.

“There are quite a few people doing ordinary activities,” Wheeler told Oil City News. “You drive up and down the street and see businesses with their lobbies open and people going in and out to do things that are clearly not to buy food or get needed healthcare.”

A shelter-in-place order would essentially prohibit all business that isn’t deemed essential, such as getting food or emergency medical care. Certain workers deemed essential would be exempt.

“I know that (the governor) fervently believes that the best thing people can do is to shelter-in-place and to only go out when absolutely necessary,” said Wheeler, “but for him at this point the political reality of an order like that means that it’s not something he’s comfortable with doing today.”

The governor is scheduled to speak today during a live web briefing at 3 p.m. The live video will be available at Wyoming PBS.

Dr. Dowell’s comments and the governor’s travel orders have been clarified after this story was published earlier.

The Wyoming Department of Health provides COVID-19 case, variant, death, testing, hospital and vaccine data online. The department also shares information about how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.