In response to the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations around the state, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon and the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) are stepping up their efforts to protect vulnerable populations, enhance contact tracing efforts and expand testing availability to all residents. Wyoming has averaged more than 200 new cases of COVID-19 per day over the past 14 days, and as of Friday, there were more than 100 citizens with the virus hospitalized around the state.
The WDH is supplementing its contact tracing efforts by bringing on a Wyoming-based company, Waller Hall Research, to provide assistance. The Wyoming National Guard will step down its help with contact tracing in the coming days. State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist said contact tracing is one of the state’s most effective strategies in isolating the virus and preventing its spread.
To protect vulnerable citizens, Wyoming continues to provide enhanced testing at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, including testing all residents and staff at facilities where COVID-19 outbreaks or clusters have been detected. At other facilities that are not experiencing outbreaks the state continues its surveillance testing program, where a percentage of residents are tested regularly.
The state is supporting health facilities, correctional facilities, counties, and other entities through testing available at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory and through the 175,000 tests Wyoming purchased with CARES Act funds. Additional rapid testing utilizing the limited number of BinaxNOW platforms provided by the federal government is also being integrated into the state’s strategy.
A free at-home saliva testing program remains available to state residents, and the WDH is launching a program to support businesses and employers across the state with free COVID-19 testing as well. Wyoming is also in the process of exploring a program that would offer incentives to businesses that voluntarily make changes to operations that enhance the safety of employees, customers, and the general public.