UW: COVID situation 'improved' across much of Wyoming, including Natrona - Casper, WY Oil City News
Oil City News Logo

UW: COVID situation ‘improved’ across much of Wyoming, including Natrona

A horse statue outside of Lou Tauberts Western Wear in downtown Casper sports a mask on Oct. 22, 2020. It was applied as part of a campaign to promote the use of masks to slow the spread of COVID-19. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — The University of Wyoming are offering a new interactive COVID-19 dashboard that aims to give the public a new tool for monitoring data surrounding the pandemic in a way that is “tailored for rural areas.”

The dashboard includes three maps and datasets:

  • “Three Day Incidence Rate”: gives a view of the number of new cases per 100,000 people in each county
  • “Trend Evaluation”: looks at whether the trend in new COVID cases over the last seven days has improved, deteriorated or stayed the same compared with the past 30 days
  • “Predicted Incidence Rate”: provides a statistically modeled approach to help understand regional patterns of COVID incidences

As the second map above indicates, much of Wyoming is seeing improvement in terms of the average number of new cases per day.

Article continues below...

The new “Interactive COVID-19 Data by United States County” dashboard comes as a result of a project led by UW professors Pavel Chernyavskiy and Tim Robinson. Colton Zier, a recently graduated UW master’s degree statistics student from Basin has also assisted on the project.

The UW team collaborated with the Wyoming Department of Health on the project. Data for the dashboard comes from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering’s COVID-19 Data Repository, according to UW.

Chernyavskiy said in UW’s release that the dashboard offers some advantages specific to more rural areas such as Wyoming.

“We focus on geographic disparities in incidence at a snapshot in time — using data from a day ago — rather than trends over time,” he told UW. “We also provide a statistically ‘smoothed’ map of COVID incidence that helps the reader see geographic patterns more clearly than by using raw data alone.”

“Rates computed in rural counties can be unrealistic due to low populations, which results in small denominators for those rates. Our ‘smoothed’ map is designed to help mitigate this issue by borrowing information from neighboring counties to optimally smooth out risk by using a statistical model.”

The trend map may also be useful to public health officials trying to determine whether health regulations have had an impact on slowing the spread of the virus, according to Chernyavskiy.

Further details are available from UW.

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.