The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Wyoming grew by 13 on Wednesday, with new cases detected in seven counties.
The state Department of Health also announced the death of an eleventh Wyoming resident related to the illness.
The growth came one day after the public health officer in Natrona County, where confirmed coronavirus cases have increased by 15 in the last week, urged residents to adhere to public health recommendations that are still in place.
“You loosen the recommendations and the compliance with what we want you to do and you see an increase in cases,” Dr. Mark Dowell said during a news conference Tuesday. “I’ve got to tell you, we can do a better job as a community at following the guidelines from the state and from our Health Department.”
The department said a Fremont County man’s death was linked to coronavirus and he suffered from pre-existing conditions that would make him more vulnerable to coronavirus.
The state’s case total stood at 596 on Wednesday with new cases reported in Campbell, Carbon, Fremont, Hot Springs, Natrona, Park and Sweetwater counties. The largest increase was in Fremont County, where five new cases were reported. One new case was diagnosed in Park County, the first new case reported there in almost two months.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Fremont County had 209 cases; Laramie County had 121; Teton County had 69; Natrona County had 53; Campbell and Sweetwater counties had 17; Converse had 14; Washakie had 13; Johnson and Sheridan counties had 12; Lincoln had 11; Albany had 10; Carbon had nine; Uinta had eight; Hot Springs had six; Crook had five; Goshen had four; Big Horn and Park had two, and Niobrara and Sublette counties both had one case.
The number of people declared recovered on Wednesday, six, brought the total number of recoveries since mid-March to 534, including 394 among patients with confirmed coronavirus cases and 140 among those with “probable” cases.
Probable cases are defined as those where a patient has coronavirus symptoms and has been in contact with someone with a confirmed case, but has not been tested for the illness.
The number of probable cases stood at 191 on Wednesday.
In other developments:
Trial backlog: The coronavirus pandemic is probably going to create a massive backlog of jury trials this fall, according to the chief justice of the Wyoming’s Supreme Court. Justice Michael Davis said at the Supreme Court’s order, courts have suspended jury trials until Aug. 3 due to concerns over the coronavirus. Davis said in Laramie County alone, district court judges are postponing between 15 and 25 jury trials a month.
Devils Tower open: The Devils Tower National Monument will open with limited services on Friday, according to monument officials. Ranger Nickolos J. Meyers, in a news release, said the monument will reopen access to park roads, hiking trails, picnic areas and rock climbing routes. However, the visitor’s center and Devils Tower Natural History Association Bookstore will remain closed.
WWC reopens: Some Western Wyoming College students returned to their classrooms on Monday as the college reopened its doors for technology and industry students. Western officials put a number of safeguards in place to resume classroom education and Kim Dale, Western’s president, said things appeared to go smoothly on opening day Monday.
Bighorn recreation: Developed recreation sites in the Bighorn National Forest began opening Wednesday. Forest Supervisor Andrew Johnson urged visitors to observe health safeguards as they use the sites. “While we understand there may be some excitement from the public to return to beloved recreation areas, please continue to follow local, state and federal guidelines on staying safe,” he said. “There is still work to be done ensuring cleanliness of facilities, conducting proper maintenance and assessing recreation areas for health and safety.”
Back to school: Eastern Wyoming College has won approval for its plan to allow some students to attend classes before the end of the school year. The college opened up on Monday, primarily to allow its welding and cosmetology students to finish their classes, said college President Lesley Travers. “Some of these students already have employment, and we want to make sure we don’t stand in their way,” Travers said.