Wyoming Department of Corrections to conduct COVID-19 testing - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Wyoming Department of Corrections to conduct COVID-19 testing

File; Kalub Mayes sews a sneeze guard at the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution in Torrington (Courtesy of the Wyoming Department of Corrections)

Wyoming Department of Corrections Director Bob Lampert has announced that the agency, working in conjunction with State Epidemiologist Dr. Harrist and her staff, will begin testing all inmates and employees for the COVID-19 virus.  

According to a Wyoming Department of Corrections statement, starting the week of July 13, 2020, WDOC will begin one-time 100% testing at each of its five correctional institutions in rotation.  Testing will be completed on every inmate as well as every state and contract employee assigned to each of the institutions.

The DOC says that, to date, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the incarcerated population in Wyoming.  Wyoming and Hawaii are the only states that have not had any cases reported among their prison populations.

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“We want to confirm our zero COVID-19 status,” Lampert said.  “Due to the recent uptick in the incidence rate of COVID-19 in various communities in Wyoming, we want to be extra cautious.  Therefore, we are going to test everybody as soon as we can reasonably do so.  Once our baseline is established, we will institute ongoing surveillance testing in the same manner as nursing homes in order to maintain the safest possible living and work environment.”

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact prison operations, even though the virus itself has been kept at bay, officials say.

“Size of groupings continues to be restricted, face coverings are required when indoors or within six feet of others, increased sanitation, frequent hand washing ,and hand sanitation are the norm,” the DOC statement says. “All persons accessing any of the correctional institutions are screened prior to entry.  Access by volunteers continues to be suspended.  Family visitation also remains suspended although inmates have been given access to two free phone calls per week and scheduled access to video visitation has also been implemented.”

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.