Smartphone data suggests Wyoming residents at home or parks over retail, workplaces - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Smartphone data suggests Wyoming residents at home or parks over retail, workplaces

Unusually light traffic moves through the intersection of Wyoming Blvd and Second Street in east Casper on Monday, March 16. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. – Tech giant Google is publishing mobility reports, which give a glimpse at people’s activities during the coronavirus pandemic.

The data maps break down results in each state. Data from other countries is also available.

“Google prepared this report to help you and public health officials understand responses to social distancing guidance related to COVID-19,” said Google on its mobility map.

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The latest map for Wyoming and surrounding states contains data up through March 29. The maps will be routinely updated, according to Google.

The most striking statistic is retail and recreation, which shows a decline of 37 percent. The category includes restaurants, cafes, libraries and movie theaters along with shopping centers and other places of retail.

Smartphone data compiled by Google shows visits to retail and recreation centers fell sharply. It also shows grocery and pharmacy visits spiked in mid-March before settling back down. (Google)

Grocery and pharmacy is down 13 percent, though the graph shows a spike upward starting after March 8, shortly before coronavirus entered the state. The graph shows a gradual decline of grocery and pharmacy activity through the end of March.

Workplace visits are down 29 percent.

Conversely, park visits are up by 29 percent. The category includes national and public parks, gardens, plazas and dog parks.

Residential is up by just 8 percent.

Visits to parks has fluctuated wildly, but is overall up by 29 percent according to data from Google. (Google)

The data can be contrasted against neighboring states.

Montana shows a whopping 51 percent drop in visits to retail and recreation, but visits to parks is nearly identical to Wyoming’s with a 28 percent jump.

Colorado’s drop in retail and recreation matches Montana’s at 51 percent. Interestingly, visits to parks in Colorado dropped by 12 percent. Workplace visits dropped by 40 percent, and data shows a 13 percent rise in residential visits.

In Utah, retail and recreation fell by 41 percent, and park visits jumped by 26 percent.

Google explains some of the methods it used in tracking the data in a blog post.

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.