Moorcroft Leader - The Voice of the Community Since 1909, Serving Moorcroft and Pine Haven, Wyoming

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Coronavirus cases up to 230, Gordon asks for limit on fishing licenses


April 9, 2020

Gov. Mark Gordon is asking the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to suspend the sale of short-term fishing licenses to out-of-state residents as a way to discourage travel to the state.

Gordon’s comments came during a news conference Wednesday as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state grew to 230.

When viewed in light of the state’s requirement for visitors from outside the state to self-quarantine for 14 days after their arrival, the issuing of short-term hunting licenses makes little sense, Gordon said.

“If you’re going to be here for 14 days before you go out, it doesn’t seem the correct thing to do to issue temporary or short-term licenses,” he said.

Gordon said Game and Fish Department officials had also sent emails to all 43,000 out-of-state hunting and fishing license holders to advise them not to visit Wyoming right now.

“We’re particularly concerned about our neighbors in a lockdown state like Colorado coming up to Wyoming or from Utah,” he said.

Also during the news conference, Gordon and Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state’s health officer, said by following state recommendations to self-isolate, Wyoming residents are slowing the spread of coronavirus.

However, she was hesitant to identify a date when the state might see a peak in new coronavirus cases followed by a decline.

“I don’t want to say the peak will be in mid-May; we don’t have enough certainty in that to reassure people that will happen,” she said. “What we have done is through the public health orders we’ve written, we’ve flattened the curve.”

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by nine on Wednesday to total 230, while the number of reported recoveries grew by 32 to total 94.

The Wyoming Department of Health announced in its daily coronavirus update that new cases were detected in four counties, with Laramie County gaining five for a new total of 53. New cases were also reported in Crook, Natrona and Teton counties.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Laramie County had 53 cases; Teton County had 45; Fremont County had 38; Natrona County had 27; Sheridan County had 12; Campbell had nine; Johnson had eight; Sweetwater had six; Washakie had five; Albany, Carbon, Converse and Lincoln counties each had four, and Crook, Goshen and Uinta had three. Park and Sublette counties had one case each.

The number of recoveries increased on Wednesday to 94 from Tuesday’s total of 62.

Recoveries were seen in each of the counties where a coronavirus infection has been confirmed, with the exception of Crook County.

A recovery is considered to have occurred when a patient has gone three days without any symptoms.

Laramie County recorded 21 recoveries, while Teton County saw 19.

The Department of Health also began sharing statistics Wednesday on “probable” coronavirus cases, defined as someone who is suffering from the symptoms of coronavirus and has been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of the illness but has not been tested.

The department set the number of probable cases at 73 in 14 counties. Laramie County had the highest number of probable cases at 16, with Teton County reporting 14.

In other developments:

Disaster request: Gordon said during his news conference that he asked the federal government on Wednesday for a disaster declaration for the state and the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes. Gordon said the declaration would let the state access federal assistance, including help from the U.S. Corps of Engineers in building field hospitals, if needed.

Unemployment: With the state’s unemployment rate skyrocketing, the director of the state Department of Workforce Services said her department is doing all it can to process unemployment insurance claims. Robin Cooley said the number of claims processed by her department has increased by three-fold to eight-fold. She said the department is bringing in extra people to help with the processing of claims and is considering other steps, such as hiring an outside phone center to help process claims.

Yellowstone: Dan Sholly, superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, said he will base his decision on when to reopen the park on input from local health officials. Sholly closed the park in March in response to requests from health officials in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Some gates are scheduled to open for the summer season next week, but Sholly said that is unlikely to happen.

Barley affected: Briess Malt & Ingredients Co., the company that contracts for much of the barley grown in the Big Horn Basin, has announced it wants to set aside contracts with growers and reduce by 50% the amount of barley it will buy. The company said given business shutdowns across the country affecting breweries, tap rooms, bars and restaurants, the demand for its product has dropped significantly. Barley growers were told they could terminate their contracts with the company, agree to planting reduced acres under an amended contract or leave their current contracts in place with a guarantee the company would buy at least 50% of its originally contracted quantity.

Stronger order: A number of Jackson residents are asking Gordon to approve a more stringent “stay-at-home” order for Teton County. About 2,000 people have signed a petition making the request. Last week, Teton County, with state approval, issued a “stay-at-home” order that allows people to leave their homes to buy groceries, medical supplies, to take care of a pet or another person or to take part in outdoor recreation. The petition asks the state to approve stronger restrictions as recommended by Dr. Travis Riddell, the county’s health officer.

Masks disappear: The Wyoming Medical Center reported that more than 1,000 cloth masks disappeared from its laundry department. In response to the sudden shortage of the masks, Medical Center officials urged those making masks for donations to continue doing so.

Masks in demand: Campbell County Memorial Hospital in Gillette also put out the call for more face masks. The hospital reported it had 700 to 800 as of Tuesday, while it needed 2,000. “We don’t need any more gowns and hats, we just need masks,” said Ronda Boller, a Campbell County Health board member.

Making masks: People across the state continue to turn out masks for others both inside and outside of Wyoming. In Douglas, a group of seamstresses made 1,500 cloth medical masks in 10 days for donation to the Memorial Hospital of Converse County.

In Buffalo, Nelda Hays has already completed 14 masks for doctors and nurses in San Antonio, where her granddaughter works as a nurse in an intensive care unit. Elizabeth Downare and daughters Cassie and Sidney, also of Buffalo, have completed nearly 60 masks. The four are also making masks for Sheridan Memorial Hospital.

But the efforts are not limited to masks. In Kemmerer, a group of women have made more than 116 gowns for use at the South Lincoln Medical Center in Kemmerer.


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