WDH: 80+ cases of four COVID-19 'variants of concern' found in Wyoming - Casper, WY Oil City News
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WDH: 80+ cases of four COVID-19 ‘variants of concern’ found in Wyoming

Casper/Natrona County Health Department RN Hana Kim reconstitutes the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine with sodium chloride while preparing the first doses to be administered in Natrona County on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Department of Health said on Tuesday, April 6 that “follow up analysis of positive samples has shown four different COVID-19 variants recognized by national and international experts as ‘variants of concern’ have been found in Wyoming over the past several months.

New analysis conducted at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory identified the following cases of COVID-19 with the different variants, according to the WDH:

  • “at least 40 cases have involved the United Kingdom variant (B.1.1.7)”
  • “more than 40 cases combined of two California variants (B.1.427 and B.1.429)”
  • “one with the South Africa variant (B.1.351)”

State Health Officer and State Epidemiologist Dr. Alexia Harrist said that the four variants have likely represented some of the COVID-19 cases in Wyoming in recent months.

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“Because this is far from a comprehensive review of all positive patient samples, the true number and geographical spread of variants of concern in Wyoming is likely greater than what has been identified,” Harrist said.

Harrist said the variants are considered “of concern” because:

  • all four have been shown to transmit more easily between people
  • all four may lead to more serious illnesses
  • all four may have resistance to some COVID-19 treatment options

“Knowing these variants have been circulating in Wyoming doesn’t change our primary recommendations for the public,” Harrist said. “The best way for people to protect themselves from getting sick is to get a COVID-19 vaccine, which are available to the general public now throughout Wyoming. We still also recommend staying home when you are sick, avoiding large gatherings and wearing masks in most public settings.”

“Because the variants can affect the success of certain treatment options, we have shared updated information with healthcare providers across the state to help them help their patients.”

The WDH provides information online about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in Wyoming.

Wyoming is also offering free at-home COVID-19 testing with information available online.

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.