Pete Muldoon

Pete Muldoon, el alcalde, escucha durante una reunión.

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UPDATE, 3:40 p.m. Saturday, March 28: The town approved what Mayor Pete Muldoon dubbed a "shelter in place” ordinance, effective immediately.

The order applies to everyone in the town of Jackson and is set to expire on April 17, the same date state- and county-wide orders are set to end.

It exempts people experiencing homelessness, as well as victims of domestic violence who may be seeking safe haven somewhere besides their home. The decree also allows people to leave for certain things like going to the grocery store, seeking medical care and supplies, and recreating outdoors with six feet of distance between themselves and others.

“It’s not like we’re living through the Battle of Britain here,” Muldoon said, referencing the multi-month battle in World War II that forced English civilians to seek shelter in underground subways.

“We can get through this," he said.

He asked people to think of their at-risk neighbors, noting, "It’s going to be hard."

Original story, 2:15 p.m. Saturday, March 28: As the town mulls an order telling all people in Jackson to stay home, the county’s health officer said he already has one on the books for those 65 and older and those with "high risk medical conditions."

The order will be in place until April 17, the same date to which Gov. Mark Gordon extended statewide closures Friday afternoon.

It applies to those over 65, those with high risk medical conditions, those who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility, and those who live with an older adult or someone with one of those medical conditions.

The order requires those people to stay home unless they’re leaving to perform a specific few activities: buying groceries, obtaining medical care or supplies for a household member or pet, caring for a family member or pet in another household, recreating outside while maintaining six feet of distance from other people, or traveling to work if work cannot be done from home.

Teton District Health Officer Dr. Travis Riddell said he’d received state approval for the county order Saturday, eight days after he began drafting it, and about five days since it first landed on State Health Officer Alexia Harrist’s desk.

Both Riddell and Mayor Pete Muldoon expressed frustration that approval for the order had taken so long.

“I think we’re as disappointed as you,” Muldoon said, referencing one of Riddell’s comments about the state’s delays in approving the order.

The mayor described the Riddell’s actions as “leading the way in the state of Wyoming” and “maybe dragging them behind a little bit.”

If the Town Council approves a stay at home order this afternoon — they have just taken a recess to fine tune the order, and are expected to do so soon — Jackson will precede the state in doing so.

Riddell said he is also working on expanding the county-wide stay at home order Harrist approved Saturday for people deemed most at risk. His goal, he said, is to submit an order that would require all people to stay home across Teton County.

The county-wide stay at home order that would apply to all people would be similar to the one town councilors are considering now.

Riddell said Harrist, so far, has not signaled an appetite for such an order. Her signature is required for a county-wide order to go into effect.

Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7063 or barnold@jhnewsandguide.com.

Teton County Reporter

Previously the Scene editor, Billy Arnold made the switch to the county beat where he's interested in exploring Teton County as a model for the rest of the West. When he can, he still writes about art, music and whatever else suits his fancy.

(7) comments

Ken Chison

I bet the mayor, and his good buddy Jim, are happy they wont be affected. Still getting a paycheck and miraculously, get to live in deed restricted, govt. subsidized housing.

Virginia Wade

As a physician living in NYC, and a homeowner in Wilson for the past 20 years, allow me to explain the testing situation. JH residents are in much better shape than we are back East, population density is the enemy. PCR test kits were initially offered by the WHO, using the viral sequence isolated in Wuhan. The WHO meets annually to determine which strains of influenza may be the biggest threat to the global population. They isolate flu strains and create the flu shot that is then distributed worldwide. Sometimes they get it right, sometimes they miss but as we get vaccinated annually we develop what is known as "herd Immunity" and prevent flu-related deaths. The WHO was best equipped to isolate the Coronavirus genetic sequence labeled Covid-19.

Germany took the kits, so did South Korea and other countries. They immediately authorized private labs to produce a massive number of kits and tested aggressively. They have the spread under tighter control. It is my understanding that the US was offered 500,000 kits, and turned them down. The CDC decided to develop their own kits, and controlled all of the testing initially. No test kits were produced privately and no test could be sent to a private lab anywhere in the US. The lack of testing is a colossal governmental failure. Then several problems emerged, the kits were deemed faulty, they required personnel to run the tests and it took at least a week to get test results. That led to a delay of about 6 weeks, by then the outbreaks were escalating and there weren't enough test kits at the CDC, so began the rationing of testing. Health care providers have been flying blind in NYC, not eligible for testing unless they develop symptoms, exposed daily, and they have certainly contributed to the spread of disease in NY through no fault of their own.

Hopefully you will have rapid test kits in the next few days. The FDA has just approved a kit. In the meantime, socially distance, stay at home.

Virginia Wade MD

TERRENCE MILAN

Colossal is a bit of word exaggeration isn't it. How long would 500,000 kits have lasted in NYC? That sort of ignores the rest of the country and the fact that someone who was just tested can walk out the door and get infected by the first person they meet. Secondly NY is exporting their problem all over the country. They have taken flight (literally in some cases) and exported the decease elsewhere. Self-quarantine has been an issue in most cases, but has been aided by one neighbor who knocked down a tree over a driveway and, of course, Rhode Island State Police pulling over every NY plate that they see. I hear where that has caught on in other New England State as well.

Am Du

"Shelter In Place" is the term used for active shooters and violent crime scenarios. Hysteria is NOT what we want to happen and using phrases that cause additional panic is not prudent. The phrase presently being used is called the "stay-at-home" order.

TERRENCE MILAN

This is a bit of an over reaction. It has been only two weeks since the Flying Petri Dish and the resort closed, sending the tourists back to their respective home bases. Since the virus takes about two weeks to incubate, there is no way to know whether the current measures have worked. It is no surprise to hear about the current outbreak, since many of these cases were likely infected while the town was packed with travelers from infected areas. The town has changed radically since then. Whether the measures currently in place are working or not won't be known for another couple of weeks. I feel that the local people have behaved in a pretty responsible fashion. I would like hear where the mayor and town can site otherwise and where the average Jackson citizen hasn't held up their part of the deal.

Susan Crosser

I'm just a tad confused about the testing issue. It seems like if you have mild symptoms, like the seasonal flu or a cold, shelter at home and don't get a test. But that seems to hamstring the ability to actually determine the source of community spread. You've severely limited your database to a non-statistical sample, and therefore, any conclusions reached are undependable. If we want to know the actual source of community spread, shouldn't we be gathering as much data as possible?

Trey Hackney

Exceptional leadership Mayor Muldoon. A few days late in many people's opinion, but we also understand the difficulty being proactive and progressive in legislative arena in the State of Wyoming. Well done, I'm proud to have your leadership, and your willingness to do the right thing and make extremely difficult decisions regardless of popularity

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