Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

If you’re still planning on having a wedding in Wyoming this summer, you can now invite a few more guests.

Gov. Mark Gordon amended the statewide public health order that limits outdoor gatherings, increasing the limit to 50% of a venue’s capacity, with a maximum of 1,000 people, as long as social distancing and heightened sanitation measures are in place. Indoor gatherings are still limited to 50 people with no restrictions or 250 with protective measures.

“We are seeing promising trends,” Gordon said in a press release, “but we want to continue to exercise caution as schools around the state prepare for reopening.”

The changes come as Teton County is seeing a decrease in many coronavirus metrics. As of Friday afternoon, the county had 31 active cases and 79 people under quarantine orders, though it did report 11 new cases on a day that Wyoming set a record with 67 new lab-confirmed cases.

Grand Teton National Park also recently reported one person in its “community” who tested positive, park spokeswoman Denise Germann said.

Two numbers that provide a more complete snapshot of the pandemic are trending lower. After climbing as high as 9%, the average positivity rate over the past two weeks has dropped to 4%, below the threshold the World Health Organization recommends.

The seven-day average rate of new daily cases per 100,000 people, which is used to compare communities of disparate sizes, was 6.1. In recent weeks, the rate had been higher than 50 per 100,000, so the drop is encouraging to staff at the Teton County Health Department.

“We’re feeling great,” public health coordinator Rachael Wheeler said.

Whether the drop can be attributed to a countywide mask order, an increase in contact tracing or other factors is hard to say definitively. The Health Department has put so many measures in place all at once, Wheeler said, that she can’t quantify the impact of any single measure.

Because officials can’t pinpoint one specific action as the reason for the declining statistics, public health officials hope to maintain the various prevention measures already in place to keep numbers low.

“We at the Health Department would like to keep those in place to ensure that it stays low,” Wheeler said of the case count.

To allow the public to track some of the advanced metrics, Teton County has added two new tabs to the JHCovid.com dashboard. The COVID Act Now and Harvard Global Health Institute tabs allow people to compare the county to places around the country in a variety of measures.

“We felt like that was very helpful,” Wheeler said.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

(2) comments

Susan Crosser

When looking at the dashboard, ONLY Teton County residents are listed. I'd be interested in knowing whether we also have a non-resident population under quarantine.

TERRENCE MILAN

Quarantine is an order, but there is no enforcement. Have heard nothing about ankle bracelets. Non-residents can pack up and go taking their problem elsewhere. Best protect yourself and assume some will not obey the quarantine.

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