With the number of new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Wyoming topping 300 a day and rising, Gov. Mark Gordon has issued a new raft of public health orders that tighten down on public gatherings.
The updated orders reduces the number of people allowed at indoor and outdoor gatherings to 25 or fewer without other restrictions. With physical distancing measures, indoor events are limited to 25% of a venue's capacity with a maximum of 100 people. The limit had been 50% of capacity with a maximum attendance of 250. This includes attendance at athletic events like high school basketball and wrestling, which are about to begin.
For outdoor gatherings, events now are limited to 50% capacity with a maximum of 250 people.
Faith-based gatherings are exempt from the new orders, as are church services, funeral homes and parades. There are no changes to the state's public health guidelines for schools, child care facilities, restaurants and performance spaces. Workout classes also will be limited to 25 people.
The updated orders take effect Thursday and will run at least through Dec. 15. They do not include any new restrictions on businesses or a statewide mask mandate. At least 14 of the state's 23 counties have already implemented some sort of mask mandates of their own and the public health officials of all the counties recently signed a letter to the governor requesting one, said Campbell County Health Director Jane Glasser.
As of Friday morning, Wyoming has had 22,489 confirmed cases with another 3,680 probable cases and 176 deaths. Seven of those deaths were Campbell County residents. Also, Campbell County’s 1,996 cases over that period represent 11% of the state’s overall increase.
Compared to the 4,189 confirmed cases as of Sept. 21, the state has surged 18,300 cases, or an average of 305 per day. Prior to that from March 13 through Sept. 21, the state averaged 21.8 cases a day.
Over the last 60 days, Campbell County has gone from one of the least affected by COVID-19 to one of the hardest hit.
Since Sept. 21, the county’s number of confirmed cases since the pandemic began ballooned from 217 to 2,213, an average of 33.2 cases per day. Before that from March 13, when Gordon declared a state emergency because of the virus, through Sept. 21, the county had 217, or an average of 1.13 per day. The county’s active cases also is up from 34 60 days ago to 1,259.
“We have said from the start that data would drive our approach,” Gordon said in a Thursday afternoon press release announcing the orders. “With this spike, we must respond to these new conditions. We have seen that larger gatherings are playing a role in the spread of this disease.”
With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, the Governor is asking Wyoming residents to celebrate safely.
“Thanksgiving is a special day for families. This virus is insidious and it strikes even at family gatherings where we are tempted to let our guard down,” he said. “Jennie and I encourage families to be careful this Thanksgiving and to keep gatherings smaller to protect their loved ones. We also wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.”