Doctor check up

CARBON COUNTY — Carbon County officials continued their mission to keep the community informed on the COVID-19 pandemic by hosting a live-stream of a news conference on Friday.

In it, a panel of officials from the Carbon County medical community, such as a number of staffers from Memorial Hospital of Carbon County, and Carbon County School District 1 superintendent Mike Hamel spoke about the decisions they’ve made to stop the spread of the virus.

Last week, there were only a few cases of coronavirus confirmed in Wyoming, but as of press time Friday, there were 19 cases, nine of which were in Fremont County. There are still no confirmed cases in Carbon County as of press time.

COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan City, China. Its first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person to person. Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes are at higher risk of falling seriously ill if they catch the virus.

Symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Emergency warning signs are difficulty breathing, bluish lips or face, persistent pain or pressure in the chest and confusion or inability to arouse.

To avoid catching the virus, it’s recommended people wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Stay away from people who are sick and stay home if you’re feeling unwell.

On Thursday night, Gov. Mark Gordon and State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist issued an order of businesses such as restaurants, bars, gyms and childcare centers to shut down, effective immediately, until April 3. Some questions during the Friday lives-tream pertained to this.

Rawlins councilwoman and public health regional nursing supervisor Jacqueline Wells noted to the viewers on the Facebook live-stream that while many things had changed since the news conference last week, the officials were doing the best to get out the proper information in a timely manner.

“There are still no confirmed cases in Carbon County, but we’re expecting it to reach all municipalities,” Wells said. “Stay at home as much as possible right now.”

Wells also discussed a Carbon County-centric page where more updates regarding the virus will be shared, called Carbon County COVID Response. The team running that page is also working on creating a website to share the same information.

Public health nurse manager Amanda Brown reiterated people should practice social distancing in the meantime, as that’s the best method to protect everyone.

MMCC RN Christina Baugh told viewers she felt it wasn’t helpful to release information about how many ventilators or beds the hospital currently has available, since she felt that releasing the information would cause even more of a panic than there already was.

Hospital CEO Ken Harman reassured viewers that the hospital was fully staffed and the team members were ready to care for every person who came into the facility. He did note that currently, all elective surgeries are being postponed for the time being, so the hospital will be only open to those who truly need to be there.

“It’s challenging times right now, this is nothing we ever expected,” Wells said. “We just want to do what’s best for our community. Please trust that we do care and we’re there for you.”

Ellen Fike is a freelance writer living in Cheyenne. She can be reached at elfylucille@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter at @EllenLFike.

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