The state’s death count from COVID-19 tripled Tuesday with the confirmation of four virus-related deaths, bringing the total to six.
The Wyoming Department of Health reports all of the new deaths were from Fremont County and included an older man, older woman, adult man and adult woman. All had been hospitalized and two had existing conditions that put them at higher risk from the novel coronavirus.
The Northern Arapaho Tribe also announced that all four were members of the tribe and each had tested positive for the virus in recent days.
“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that the Northern Arapaho Tribe confirms the death of four of our own who had tested positive for coronavirus, COVID-19,” said Northern Arapaho Business Council Chairman Lee Spoonhunter in a live YouTube video. He said two of the four were elders and while “we take solace and comfort in that … it does not discount the tremendous loss to our tribes.”
The Wyoming Department of Health stated Tuesday that all four had been hospitalized.
“These announcements were difficult to make,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state health officer, in a Health Department statement announcing them. “We’ve talking a lot about who has the highest risk of hospitalization and death related to this disease and that is important information.
“But the truth is anyone can get sick with COVID-19, anyone has a chance of a serious illness and anyone who is infected can pass COVID-19 on to others.”
The Riverton Ranger reported Tuesday that three of the four new deaths are from the same family: married couple Gloria and Larry Wheeler, and their daughter Dawn Wheeler, of Ethete. Gloria reportedly was a resident of Showboat Retirement Center in Lander, which is where the first coronavirus cases in Wyoming were discovered last month.
Campbell County at 14
While the state is reporting more confirmation of coronavirus-related deaths, Campbell County’s tally of confirmed cases has increased by one to 14.
The latest local case is a woman in her 20s, Campbell County Public Health reports. Another lab-confirmed case who had been quarantined at home has been admitted to Campbell County Memorial Hospital, the first local case to require hospitalization. All but four of the county’s cases have recovered, while Public Health is monitoring 16 households with possible positive cases.
“It is too soon to know if we have flattened the curve of coronavirus infections in Campbell County, but things are pointing in the right direction,” said Dr. Kirtikumar Patel, the county’s public health officer. “Overall, Campbell County citizens are doing a good job of being responsible by staying home when sick and keeping a physical distance from others when in public. These are two of the most important measures we can do to help slow the spread.”
Including the Campbell County cases, the latest Department of Health COVID-19 update has Wyoming at 322 so far and 119 probable cases. That accounts for four local probables. Of the confirmed cases, at least 254 have already recovered, the Department of Health reports.
Laramie County has the most COVID-19 cases at 76 (34 probable), followed by Teton at 62, (30) and Fremont at 51 cases (6). Also in double figures is Natrona County at 38 (10), Sheridan at 12 (4), Johnson at 11 cases (4) and Sweetwater at 10 (6).
Overall, 21 of Wyoming’s 23 counties have at least one confirmed case.
Campbell County’s 14 cases is an average of 30.2 per 100,000 residents, while Teton’s is 264.2.
There have so far been 7,158 COVID-19 tests reported to the state Health Department, including 3,670 from the State Public Health Laboratory in Cheyenne and 3,488 from commercial labs.
In Campbell County, 350 tests have been reported. With 14 confirmed cases, that translates to an infection rate of 4%. The highest rate is in Teton County where its 62 cases and 563 tests means 11% of people tested are positive for the virus.