Wyoming purchases 50,000 saliva-based COVID-19 tests for use in 'high risk' settings - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Wyoming purchases 50,000 saliva-based COVID-19 tests for use in ‘high risk’ settings

The NCHS drumline performs for residents of Mountain Plaza Assisted Living & Memory Care residents on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, in Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist said during a Wednesday, July 1 press conference that Wyoming has been seeing new laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 at a rate higher than at any point during the pandemic.

As of 3 pm Wednesday, the state has seen 1,203 lab confirmed cases and 311 probable cases. Wyoming began to see an uptick in the number of cases after the first ten days of June.

Harrist said that as the state deals with impacts of the virus, testing remains a crucial tool “because it allows prevention tools to be put into place.” She added that the Wyoming Department of Health’s efforts to provide surveillance testing at long-term care facilities have so far led to 2,239 COVID-19 tests being conducted.

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Harrist said those efforts have lead to only two positive COVID-19 cases being detecting. She added that the WDH followed up once those positive cases were detected but have not found additional cases connected.

She added that the WDH has purchased 50,000 saliva based COVID-19 tests for use in long term care facilities and “other high risk settings.”

Harrist also added that the WDH and county health officials have been able to complete contact tracing efforts for 97% of the lab confirmed cases the state has seen. That includes interviews with the individuals who tested positive as well as their close contacts.

She added that health officials have been able to interview 88% of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 within 24 hours of receiving their lab results.

Harrist added that a Care19 Diary app, which Governor Mark Gordon’s office announced on Wednesday was available to people in Wyoming, could help enhance health officials’ contact tracing efforts. The app is voluntary but enables users to keep track of the locations they visit. If they agree to share this data with health officials, the app could improve the ability to track the potential spread of the virus.

The Wyoming Department of Health is also providing federal CARES Act funding to counties to support their COVID-19 response efforts such as testing and contact tracing.

Harrist added that people should continue to practice social distancing and maintain six feet of distance between people not of the same household. They should also wear face coverings when six feet of distance cannot be maintained.

She added that if people feel sick, they should stay at home.

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: covid@cnchd.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.