COVID-19 Update

Coronavirus case count jumps to 40, third closure order issued

Wyoming’s coronavirus case count grew to 40 on Wednesday following the discovery of eight new cases in six counties Tuesday and three more Wednesday.

Gov. Mark Gordon announced he would hold a news conference at 1 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the state’s reaction to the epidemic, including Tuesday’s order closing businesses that provide personal services, such as beauty salons, barbershops and tattoo parlors.

The state Department of Health reported that new cases were diagnosed Tuesday and Wednesday in Laramie, Natrona, Carbon, Sweetwater, Teton and Fremont counties.

The case in Sweetwater County was the county’s first.

“We would like for this to be our one and only case, but we are aware this likely will not be the situation,” said Kristy Nielson, chief nursing officer for Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County.

More than 700 coronavirus tests have been conducted in the state since the COVID-19 epidemic began and state officials have predicted for several weeks that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases would increase as more testing was done.

Fremont County remained the hardest hit county in the state with 13 cases, followed by Laramie County with 10. Sheridan and Natrona counties each had four cases, Carbon and Teton each had three and Campbell, Park and Sweetwater each had one.

As the number of cases grew, Gov. Mark Gordon and Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state’s health officer, issued the order to close down as of Wednesday businesses that provide personal services. The order was to remain in effect through at least April 3.

“While I understand the impact and sympathize with those most affected by these measures, especially small business owners, I support Dr. Harrist’s recommendation because this is about saving lives,” Gordon said in a news release. “We have tried to navigate a thoughtful course, but as COVID-19 spreads through our communities, we must take this action now.”

The order applies to businesses where social distancing is not practical, including nail salons, hair salons, barbershops, massage parlors and tattoo, body art and piercing shops.

The order does not apply to physical therapy providers.

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