Delay BREAKING: 16th Case in Campbell County Delays Variance Order

Written by on May 7, 2020

Ivy McGowan-Castleberry
Public Information Coordinator
(307) 680-6318

16th Confirmed COVID-19 Case Delays Countywide Variance Request

Gillette, WY—May 6, 2020- Early Wednesday, Campbell County Public Health was notified of our 16th lab-confirmed COVID-19 case. The teenage female is currently quarantined at home. The new case is particularly concerning for Public Health because the patient had contact with a large number of people who are considered a high-risk population.

Public Health is working closely with Campbell County Health to coordinate testing the high-risk contacts as quickly as possible. As of today, 40 contacts have been tested, and 31 contacts are scheduled for testing tomorrow. In an effort to expedite the testing process, the Campbell County Commissioners have arranged for a county employee to transport the collected tests to the Wyoming Public Health Lab early tomorrow morning.

The newest case has temporarily paused the countywide variance orders submitted by the Board of Commissioners earlier this week. Today, in an email to the Commissioners, State Health Officer, Dr. Alexia Harrist referenced the recent COVID-19 developments and ongoing investigation. Her email stated, “I am in general supportive of the provisions in the orders, but think that we need more time to understand the current situation before they get signed.”

Public Health and the Wyoming Department of Health immediately began working on contact tracing to identify contacts quickly and to place them in quarantine to prevent the coronavirus from spreading within the community. “The faster high-risk contacts can be tested, the faster we will know what we are dealing with in our community. The test results will likely be a factor in Dr. Harrist’s decision on the requested variance, and we should know in the next 24-48 hours if any of the tested contacts have a positive test. If we are fortunate and do not have any contacts test positive, which we are all hoping will be the case, the State Health Officer and the Wyoming Attorney General may approve the requested variances soon,” explained Jane Glaser, Public Health Executive Director.

Board Chairman DG Reardon expressed concern stating, “We were saddened to hear we have another confirmed case and that so many high-risk folks could be impacted. This is a difficult situation, and there are no easy answers. Everyone—the Board, Public Health, and many others—are working hard to help get businesses open while trying to balance the health of our vulnerable and immunocompromised populations. No one wants to be in this position, trying to balance a public health strategy and an economic health strategy. But we will continue working hard to address the needs of the whole community.” Sharing a common sentiment, Dr. Harrist concluded her email with, “I understand that this is frustrating.”

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