During the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon on Friday, November 6th, Mike Ceballos, Director of the Wyoming Health Department and Stephanie Pyle, Senior Administrator for the Public Health Division provided the business community with a live public health update.
Ceballos and Pyle addressed questions surrounding the statewide public health order continuation that was released Friday, October 30th.
The public health orders were crafted in response to increases of COVID-19 cases within the State of Wyoming over the last two months. Pyle highlighted recent statistics:
On September 8th, the percentage of tests that were positive over the last 14 days was running at less than 2%, now, it is running at higher than 10%.
The 14-day average number of COVID-19 cases per day was 28 on September 8th. Yesterday, it was 270 cases.
There were 42 confirmed coronavirus related deaths in September, and now, our total is 105 deaths.
On September 8th, the reported number of current in-state COVID patient hospitalizations was about 18. Yesterday was 134 hospitalizations.
9709 individuals have recovered but 5700 cases still remain active.
Both Ceballos and Pyle agreed that opinions surrounding the new orders are polarized and that education surrounding why the decisions are being made is a large barrier.
"One of the biggest challenges that I have been facing is just the misunderstandings that are out there with our current health orders," said Ceballos.
He continued, "We have folks on both sides of this issue with very strong opinions; what I've been trying to do is listen, explain what our orders are, why we have them, and then listen back to concerns so that at the end of those conversations, I can report back to our teams."
To confront this issue, the Wyoming Health Department has been in constant contact with stakeholders to work towards implementing measures that protect public health, while still supporting businesses, community functions, and everyday life to the greatest extent possible.
The Department provides a variety of resources on their website to assist businesses and residents. To support employers in Wyoming in conducting COVID-19 workplace surveillance testing, the Wyoming Department of Health is offering free tests through a company called Vault Health. These tests are available at no cost; insurance is not necessary. The department and Vault Health will work with employers to support the use of the tests for Wyoming-based employees, including appropriate training. The free at-home surveillance tests as well as trainings, interactive updates, and statistics are all available online.
"We would like to ask you to help us respond to these growing concerns. Every action has a reaction, and every action can make our situation in Wyoming better, or it can make it worse," said Pyle.
When questioned, Ceballos indicated that their preference is to keep schools open as long as numbers are manageable, which is in the best interest of students, parents, teachers, and the community.
Ceballos and Pyle encouraged community members to follow common sense measures and to encourage customers, employees, and colleagues to do the same to prevent the spread.
"We want to work together with you, what is happening to our healthcare system and to our residents is not good for our communities, and what is not good for our communities is not good for our economy. So please, help us, help Wyoming."
Special thank you to our event sponsors:
Magic City Enterprises
*Make sure to reserve your tickets to the virtual Festival of Trees event*
Friday, November 27th - Saturday, December 5th
Burns Insurance Agency
Nuvision Federal Credit Union