Novel coronavirus

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (red) infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (yellow), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

Health officials are asking the public to step up COVID-19 precautions to protect the community’s most vulnerable people and keep businesses open after seeing cases rise rapidly recently.

New cases in the past two weeks account for about 20% of total cases in the county since the pandemic started, the Teton County Health Department said Thursday in a news release. Hospitalizations have increased, with nine people now in the primary care unit at St. John’s Health and two transfers for higher care at out-of-state hospitals, according to the Teton County Emergency Management COVID-19 dashboard.

In response, Teton District Health Officer Dr. Travis Riddell issued a new list of actions the community can take, including limiting exposure outside of households, working remotely if possible, limiting travel, and following strict physical distancing and hygiene standards.

“A person’s everyday choices impact not only their health and that of their families, but also the health of Teton County residents,” Riddell said in a statement. “We are asking the community to reduce their movement so that we can keep in-person learning and businesses open and reduce the current strain on our health care system.”

Local leaders and health experts will discuss the current situation at 3 p.m. Friday. The update will be streamed live on the town’s website, JacksonWY.gov, where the video will later be archived, and be broadcast live on radio stations KHOL (89.1 FM) and KMTN (96.9 FM).

On Thursday, the Wyoming Department of Health announced the death of a Natrona County woman, bringing Wyoming’s COVID-19 toll to 54. The department also reported a record number of new confirmed (165) and probable (28) cases of the coronavirus, pushing the state’s total active cases to over 1,400.

Riddell’s list of actions, an official recommendation signed Wednesday, also includes not dining at restaurants, except for takeout and delivery; avoiding in-person playdates; reducing trips to grocery stores; and halting nonessential visits to the hospital and nursing homes.

Contact Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington at 732-7078 or rebecca@jhnewsandguide.com.

Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington has worked for newspapers across the West. She hosts a rescue podcast, The Fine Line. Her family minivan doubles as her not-so-high-tech recording studio.

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