START Bus

Skiers board a START bus bound for Jackson in March at Teton Village. Bus service to and from the village will look different this year amid COVID-19.

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In a rare move, the Teton County Health Department has issued a blanket request for some START bus riders to monitor themselves for COVID-19.

The Health Department has determined that two people who were potentially infectious with COVID-19 rode the START bus from town to Teton Village several times. (See sidebar for affected routes and times.) Anyone who spent more than 15 minutes on the bus on any of the affected routes is asked to monitor themselves for 14 days following their last exposure.

Signs of COVID-19 can include a loss of smell or taste, fever, cough, aches and other cold-like symptoms. If you develop any of these, call your health care provider or the St. John’s COVID-19 hotline at 739-4898.

In the meantime, individuals are encouraged to order a Vault saliva test, which are free for Wyoming residents at VaultHealth.com. If possible, test on the seventh day following exposure.

The Health Department has put out this request because it was unable to contact trace and determine exactly who was on the bus and exposed. Its ability to do full contact tracing investigations has been compromised since cases climbed to record levels this fall.

In the past few weeks, case counts have dropped at both county and state levels. Teton County had 78 active cases as of Tuesday, and its 7-day rolling average of new daily cases per 100,000 people is 73, a 43% decline over the past two weeks but still well above what health officials consider OK.

That “dips us right into the red and not the blood red. But nonetheless that is still a very high number,” Teton County Director of Health Jodie Pond told county commissioners Tuesday.

St. John’s Health has seven COVID-19 patients in the hospital, but more than half of its beds are open.

Statewide, numbers have dropped as well. The 7-day average of new daily cases was 399 per 100,000 people, a 28% decline over the past two weeks.

The Wyoming Department of Health did report seven new deaths from the coronavirus Tuesday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 328. The state has seen 40,064 cases of COVID-19, if probable cases are factored in, and a case fatality rate of 0.82%, which is well below the nationwide 1.82% rate.

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.

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