CASPER, Wyo. — Officials say that a recent decline in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Natrona County is likely due to a change in sample criteria by the Wyoming Department of Health, and is not indicative of a backing down or a slowing down of the disease.
Casper-Natrona County Health Department spokesperson Hailey Bloom addressed a public briefing regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in Natrona County, and asked citizens to understand their thinking.
“You may have noticed in the last three days that the volume of new positive cases in the community and within the state has declined significantly since last week,” Bloom said. “We believe this change is possibly related to the change in sample criteria by the Wyoming Department of Health Public Health Laboratory.”
Article continues below...
In the last week the Wyoming Public Health Lab announced a decision to restrict the samples they can process to those under specific criteria, citing the need to preserve supplies needed for confirmation for samples.
“We believe that in the next week or two we will see those new positive numbers climb back up. The majority of tests now are being processed by private labs, which take anywhere from 3-10 or more days to return results to the Wyoming Department of Health who then reports the results back to us at a local level,” Bloom explained
Bloom stressed the ongoing importance of social distancing and other precautionary measures to avoid the spread of illness.
CNCHD officials point out that various models are still predicting the state’s peak of illness to be a few weeks away.
“In epidemiology we explain the cases like an iceberg. The confirmed and diagnosed positives are at the top of the iceberg that we can see emerging from the water. However, the portion we cant see under the water’s surface is much larger,” Bloom said. “Undiagnosed, unreported or people who are infectious but not transmitting the virus are this larger group under the surface. We expect to continue to see the tip of the iceberg – those confirmed positive – to continue to increase in the coming weeks. Please help us to continue to do our part to reduce transmission by social distancing and diligent hygiene.”
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.