Governor Mark Gordon issued a plea to Wyomingites to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during a press conference today.
“I am here today to urge Wyoming citizens to stay home whenever possible, only going out when absolutely necessary,” Gov. Gordon said. “It is imperative to flatten the curve by staying home.”
The governor emphasized the need for public cooperation in order for Wyoming to make strides in slowing the spread of the virus. Public participation could alleviate the need to implement more stringent measures, he added.
“Your voluntary actions and discipline are going to make the difference as to whether we can slow the spread of COVID-19. You can make a difference in Wyoming for you, your family and your neighbors,” Gov. Gordon said. “We must keep our hospital facilities functional, not just for COVID-19 but to help people with regular health emergencies like a stroke or a broken leg.”
Additional sample collection kits developed by the Wyoming Department of Health will be distributed to counties later this week, increasing testing capabilities. As of March 25, there are 44 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 10 Wyoming counties. More robust testing data is also available on the Department of Health’s website.
“We need to take the Governor’s words seriously,” said Mike Ceballos, Director of the Wyoming Department of Health. “The orders Wyoming has in place are intended to keep people separated so the virus has limited opportunity to spread. It is most important to stay at home as much as possible. If we work together, we will be able to reduce illness and the burden on our health care system.”
Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan reinforced the state’s essential role in meeting public needs and protecting public safety.
“Wyoming citizens deserve continued public service, and we are working to protect our most vulnerable populations - people who are sick, have disabilities or who are elderly - as well as our employees who are providing those services,” Buchanan said. “My task force will continue to work with local governments and our tribal nations across the state, giving them what they need to serve people and stay safe.”
Wyoming Department of Workforce Services Director Robin Cooley provided an update on the agency's efforts to expand call capacity to meet public demand. The agency is continuing its efforts to streamline unemployment benefit applications. Currently, unemployment claims are being processed within 2 days from the date of filing with no waiting period.
“We stand ready to help businesses and employees,” Director Cooley said. “Employers are still hiring and workers are still looking for jobs.”
First Lady Jennie Gordon has mobilized her Wyoming Hunger Initiative to specifically address challenges created by COVID-19 and help keep Wyoming residents fed. Today, the first lady launched a one-stop-shop for food resources in every county in Wyoming. Further, Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies will be offering mobile food pantry sites starting next week in Worland on March 31, Torrington on April 1, Star Valley on April 2 and Evanston on April 3. More sites will be announced in the coming days.
Gov. Gordon continues to meet regularly with the Wyoming Department of Health and other stakeholders to assess the impacts of COVID-19 on Wyoming’s communities. Additional guidance for schools districts, state agencies, businesses and public spaces will be updated by the end of the week.
Additional COVID-19 resources are available at the state of Wyoming's COVID-19 website, https://covid19.wyo.gov/