Wyoming reported seven new deaths from the coronavirus Thursday, bringing its total to 68 since the pandemic began.
An email from the Wyoming Department of Health said the deaths occurred between late last month and this week in Crook, Goshen, Campbell, Uinta, Natrona, Laramie and Albany counties. All seven tested positive for the coronavirus.
Not all the deaths happened in Wyoming, but all were state residents. Deaths are counted in the state of residence, the Health Department said in a release.
“Deaths among Wyoming residents who pass away in other states are not counted in both states,” the department said. “If death certificates do not describe COVID-19 as either causing or contributing to a person’s death, those deaths are not included in Wyoming’s count of coronavirus-related deaths.”
So far in the eight months since the coronavirus was first reported in Wyoming, the state has had 8,537 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,582 probable cases, a 1.7% infection rate, though that number could be higher because of possible asymptomatic cases in which a person is not tested.
The death rate among reported cases has been 0.67%, well above the 0.1% rate attributed to the seasonal flu. The state has seen 11.76 deaths per 100,000 people, well below the 67.91 deaths per 100,000 reported nationwide.
Statista, a statistics aggregation website, puts Wyoming’s death rate in the bottom five in the United States. Maine, Vermont and Alaska are the only states with a lower per capita death rate, a trend Gov. Mark Gordon would like to continue.
“It was a very pleasant surprise to me over the course of the summer that we didn’t see this sort of escalation, so it was nice to look at the national map and see that we had vastly fewer cases than most other states,” he said in a press conference Wednesday. “That’s no longer true.”
Rises in deaths often follow increases in cases. Though Wyoming’s death rate remains low, it has crept up in recent weeks. The Health Department reports 18 COVID-19 deaths since Oct. 1 — 26% of the state’s total. Some were in September, though it is difficult to know exactly when because the department doesn’t report dates of death.