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Gov. Mark Gordon received results today of a COVID-19 test that showed he is positive for the virus, his office announced this afternoon.

"He only has minor symptoms at this time and plans to continue working on behalf of Wyoming remotely," stated the news release from his office. 

In Teton County, cases are continuing to outpace contact tracing resources and filling up hospital beds. 

St. John’s Health reported 13 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday. Among coronavirus-positive patients in the Jackson hospital, a dozen were in the primary care unit and one was in the ICU, according to Karen Connelly, St. John’s chief communications officer.

“Twelve requires us to make some changes to be able to accommodate a number like that,” she said of the primary care unit.

So far the hospital has been able to keep up, with many patients requiring shorter stays, which creates space for new ones, Connelly said, cautioning that the situation changes daily.

“As positives go up we can expect to see more hospitalizations, and that can be concerning if they all end up needing hospitalization at the same time or they become severely ill.”

Statewide, 226 COVID-positive patients were hospitalized while the state announced 13 new deaths, bringing the state's total coronavirus-related death toll to 215, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.

Locally, an ongoing surge in new cases shows no signs of slowing as public health officials strongly urge residents to avoid travel and gather only with those in their immediate households for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Please only have Thanksgiving with people who live under your roof,” said Teton County Director of Health Jodie Pond.

If people gather, however, wearing masks indoors and spacing out tables and chairs for physical distancing could help reduce the risk of spreading the virus, she said.

Teton County reported 154 active lab-confirmed infections on Wednesday. There were six active "probable" cases. With the new free, at-home Vault tests, the state can take awhile to report results to the county due to the volume, Pond said. So daily case counts can fluctuate, as results are reported in batches. For example, the state reported Teton County had 61 new positives Monday versus 10 the day before and nine the day after.

On Wednesday, the county saw 34 new lab-confirmed cases reported in the past 24 hours, according to state statistics. 

“We need people helping us do the contact tracing, and we’ve been in that situation now for weeks,” Pond said. “We can barely get to the cases, let alone the contact tracing of their close contacts. I don’t see that changing, because the numbers are so high.”

Individuals can find instructions on what to do if they test positive at JHCovid.com.

Pond called the county’s positivity rate of 10% way too high. But her department is working with the state to get two testing kiosks — one in town and one at Teton Village — to test residents and people arriving here to work for the ski season. The kiosks will be able to run 1,500 tests a week.

“By doing more testing we’re hoping to get our positivity rate down, which is key to getting ahold of our case numbers,” she said.

Contact Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington at 732-7078 or rebecca@jhnewsandguide.com.

Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington has worked for newspapers across the West. She hosts a rescue podcast, The Fine Line. Her family minivan doubles as her not-so-high-tech recording studio.

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