Novel coronavirus

Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

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Teton County’s active coronavirus case count has increased from zero to five in about a week.

Though numbers are still in the single digits, the increase reveals a couple of burgeoning trends: Most cases are in young people, and they are the result of people moving in and out of the county.

“One [case] is considered community spread, and four are imported,” said Rachael Wheeler, public health coordinator at the Teton County Health Department.

“Imported” doesn’t simply mean that someone from outside the county brought the virus here. It can mean that, but it can also indicate that someone who lives in Teton County contracted the virus elsewhere and came home sick.

As the economy continues to reopen and antsy people start taking more trips, Wheeler said, it’s important to remember that tourists are not the only way the virus will migrate back into Teton County.

“We really want to hit home that it’s not just visitors,” Wheeler said. “It can be our community, our residents, too.”

Of the five cases as of Monday afternoon, four are people in their 20s and 30s, while one is a person over 70. Though young people are at a much lower risk of having an adverse reaction to the virus, these cases show they can still carry and spread the virus.

Teton County isn’t the only place in Wyoming seeing an increase in cases. The Uinta County Herald reported that a “super spreader” event May 30 had accelerated the movement of the virus in Evanston and Uinta County, which now leads the state in new infections.

Twelve new cases were reported there Monday, and 58 new cases have been found in the past eight days. Uinta County Public Health Nurse Manager Kim Proffit told the Herald that with the amount of contact tracing her department was doing, which involves asking known contacts to quarantine, many businesses in Evanston would be affected.

In Teton County, public health officials maintain that contact tracing is one of the best tools to contain community spread. With increased movement, it may be inevitable that the virus returns locally, Wheeler said, so contact tracing will allow officials to slow the internal community spread.

“That’s the goal of contact tracing locally,” she said. “When we get those positive results, we call immediately and put their contacts in quarantine.”

Overall, the state has 225 active cases of COVID-19, according to the Wyoming Department of Health, 194 of which are lab-confirmed and 31 of those being probable cases. Since the outbreak began, Wyoming has seen 856 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 223 probable ones.

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.

(4) comments

Susan Crosser

Come on, it's simple "no shirt, no shoes, no mask no service".

Also, if any are tourists at hotels, hotels ARE NOT a place to self-quarantine. Since the hospital is not admitting anyone, do these people have an appropriate place, away from others, to self-quarantine?

Patricia Snyder

And still so many people refusing to wear masks

Ken Chison

Wearing a mask is the equivelant of putting up a chain link fence to keep mosquitoes out of your yard.


When your around a lot of people who cough and sneeze making no attempt to cover their mouth, it is your last line of defense. And there is a lot of that here.

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