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Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that have a halo, or crown-like (corona), appearance when viewed under an electron microscope, shown. 

On the final day of 2020, the Wyoming Department of Health announced a fourth Teton County death from the coronavirus.

In its final report of the year on deaths related to COVID-19, the state department listed 33 more fatalities, bringing the state’s total to 438.

Because it can sometimes take weeks to confirm that a death was caused by the coronavirus and be reported officially as such, the actual number of 2020 deaths from COVID-19 is likely higher.

Wyoming ended the year with 38,010 lab-confirmed cases and 6,399 probable cases, though a lack of testing capacity, particularly early in the pandemic, means that true number is higher, too.

The pandemic has not affected every part of the state equally. Places like Natrona County saw a much higher death rate than Teton County, even though their case rates have been similar many times during the year.

The Health Department’s report indicates the fourth Teton County death was an older woman who had been hospitalized. She had co-morbidities, or “health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.”

Teton County had a total of 2,138 cases in 2020, 60 of which were probable and 2,078 lab-confirmed.

The fourth death brings the county’s case fatality rate to 0.19%, if probable cases are included. That’s far lower than the state’s rate of 0.97%.

According to Health Department data, as of Thursday, Teton County had 64 active cases of COVID-19 and 17 confirmed cases in the past 24 hours.

The department lists 2,070 local cases as “recovered,” though that measure simply indicates someone survived and is past a 10-day period following a positive test. It does not say whether the person is experiencing the “long-haul” symptoms that some patients have or is having other long-term effects.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or

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.

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