Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) official says the risk of an ongoing outbreak of the 2019 novel
coronavirus causing international concern remains low in Wyoming.
“No reported or suspected 2019 novel coronavirus cases have been
identified in Wyoming and the risk to our state’s residents from
this virus remains low,” said
Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH. “However,
because the outbreak situation is rapidly changing we will continue to
track developments and provide updates.”
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold in
people and others that circulate among animals. The 2019 novel coronavirus
was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, with a link to a
local seafood and animal market. Many early patients reportedly had a
connection to the market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. The illness
growth has since shown the virus is spread from person to person. Symptoms
have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and
shortness of breath.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to China.
“What’s important for people to know is there is no evidence
of what we call ‘community transmission’ in our country,”
Harrist said. “The number of cases in the United States is still
low and so far has only involved people who traveled to the affected area
of China or who were a very close contact of someone who became ill after
Harrist said new, strong travel restrictions are meant to detect and contain
the virus to help prevent ongoing spread in this country.
“Foreign nationals can’t come to the United States from China
right now. Americans returning from the most affected area of China or
from anywhere in China with symptoms are being quarantined outside of
Wyoming. Americans returning from other areas of China who don’t
have symptoms can come home but will be monitored,” she said.
Clay Van Houten, Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit manager with WDH
said, “While we are working on our monitoring plan for people who
may return to Wyoming from China, we do not expect large numbers to be
Van Houten noted Wyoming is currently experiencing widespread
“The symptoms are similar so many of actions we suggest to help avoid
spreading the flu are the same we would suggest if this coronavirus ever
became a larger local concern,” he said.
Recommended steps include:
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
- Stay home if sick.
- Cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching eyes, nose
and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and
water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60
“Campbell County Health routinely evaluates patients for respiratory
illness when they register in our outpatient clinics, and as part of patient
assessments for inpatients and in the Emergency Department,” says
Kim Lindeman, RN, BSN, CCH Infection Preventionist. “Patients are
also asked about their travel history, and any patient who also has a
history of travel from China will receive futher evaluation and transmission
precautions as needed.”