Eleven new coronavirus cases in five counties brought the state’s total number of confirmed cases to 577 on Monday.
Six of the cases were diagnosed in Natrona County, where officials said 11 new cases have been detected in the last week, including four cases among Wyoming Medical Center employees.
Two of the Medical Center employees tested positive for coronavirus last week, prompting center officials to test all staff who had close contact with them. The result was two more diagnosed cases on Monday.
“The initial investigation showed that two employees diagnosed earlier in the week were traced together, so Wyoming Medical Center made the decision to test all staff who had close contact with the two positive employees over the weekend,” the hospital said in a statement.
The employees are self-quarantining.
Meanwhile, the number of Wyoming deaths linked to the coronavirus increased to 10 on Monday with reports of two state residents in Colorado.
One patient, an older man from Laramie County, died in March, while the other, an older female from Carbon County, died in April.
Although neither patient had been counted in Wyoming’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases, the deaths are attached to Wyoming because they were permanent residents of the state, said Guy Beaudoin, deputy state registrar with the Department of Health.
“When Wyoming residents pass away in another state from a disease such as COVID-19, it is a widely accepted practice to track those deaths based on the location of the person’s permanent residence,” he said.
The Department of Health said in addition to the six new cases in Natrona County, new cases were seen in Albany, Fremont, Hot Springs and Johnson counties on Monday.
As of Monday afternoon, Fremont County had 203 cases; Laramie County had 119; Teton County had 69; Natrona County had 49; Campbell and Sweetwater counties had 16; Converse had 14; Washakie had 13; Sheridan and Johnson had 12; Lincoln had 11; Albany had 10; Uinta had eight; Carbon had seven; Crook had five; Goshen and Hot Springs had four, and Big Horn had two. Niobrara, Park and Sublette counties had one case each.
The number of recoveries seen since coronavirus was first detected in Wyoming in March stood at 504 as of Monday, 367 among patients with confirmed cases and 137 among those with probable cases.
A probable case is defined as one where the patient has coronavirus symptoms and has been in contact with someone with a confirmed case, but has not been tested for the illness. As of Monday, the Health Department said there were 189 such cases.
The Health Department’s figures indicate there are 254 active cases of coronavirus around the state — 202 among those with confirmed cases and 52 among those with probable cases.
The number of active cases is determined by adding the confirmed and probable cases — 766 — subtracting the total number of recoveries and subtracting the number of deaths.
In other developments:
Yellowstone open: Yellowstone National Park opened its two Wyoming entrances to visitors on Monday. Observers said traffic was backed up at the park’s east entrance near Cody for one-half mile as visitors waited to enter the park. Park officials decided to mitigate the traffic jam by opening the gate two hours before its scheduled noon opening time. Minimal services were available in the park in keeping with the National Park Service’s plan to phase in the park’s complete opening over time.
Shoshone campgrounds: A number of campgrounds in the Shoshone National Forest will open in time for Memorial Day weekend. Kristi Salzman, a public information officer for the forest, said the forest will begin opening developed recreation sites with campgrounds Friday. “We ask that you continue to follow local, state and federal guidelines on staying safe when you visit the Shoshone National Forest,” said forest Supervisor Lisa Timchak.
Reopening report: Businesses closed by the coronavirus in the state’s largest city reported things ran smoothly in their reopening weekend. Cheyenne restaurant and bar owners said they had successful weekends with the end Friday of the statewide order closing their businesses. However, Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department officials said businesses will need to do a better job of making sure social distancing rules are observed.
Cam-plex losses: Officials with Campbell County’s Cam-plex events center are estimating the center has lost about $175,000 because of event cancellations and postponements. General Manager Jeff Esposito said the center has decided not to hire part-time seasonal employees this summer because of the decline in revenue. “Without income from these events, we certainly can’t justify bringing on seasonal help,” he said.
Negative results: An examination of Cody’s sewage has revealed no signs of coronavirus, indicating the illness has not been widely circulating in Park County. Cody is one of a number of communities around the country to have sewage analyzed for signs of coronavirus in order to determine how widespread the virus is. But Biotic Analytics said the virus was not detected in Cody’s sample from April 28.