Health officials have confirmed Teton County’s first case of COVID-19, according to a press release issued Wednesday evening by St. John’s Health and the Teton County Health Department.
The Teton County resident is a man “over the age of 60.” He contacted his provider due to flu-like symptoms and was evaluated via a telehealth visit before being tested, the press release said. The man has been self-isolating since he became ill “and continues to self-isolate at home while being monitored by health officials.”
Teton County Department of Health’s Jodie Pond is optimistic about the patient’s recovery. She said health officials’ key priorities are “to ensure he receives the care he needs, to monitor his close contacts for symptoms, and to work closely with him to identify and evaluate other individuals who may have had exposure.”
Officials have been cautioning residents for the last few weeks that it was only a matter of time before a case was confirmed in Teton County. And they “do not expect it will be our last,” Dr. Travis Riddell, Teton County health officer, said in the press release. “I encourage community members to stay vigilant with protective measures as we work together to minimize the spread of this illness in Teton County and the region.”
This case comes on the heels of one such large-scale protective measure, a countywide order enacted today that shuts down nonessential services. Local officials pushed for that step following President Trump’s recommendation to limit gatherings to 10 people or less. Officials also received input from community members urging such action.
The Wyoming Department of Health has increased the number of daily COVID-19 tests it screens for all counties in the state. Last week it was screening just five tests per day. That number has jumped to 50, according to Dr. Paul Beaupre, CEO of St. John’s Health. That’s still “not enough” to properly identify and quarantine infected people, Beaupre told KHOL. But residents should be prepared that the increase may yield more diagnoses here.
This brings the total number of cases in Wyoming to 17. Linked cases have been reported in Sheridan and Fremont counties. Park County (and neighboring Teton County, Idaho) has reported one case, and cases have been reported in Laramie County.
In the absence of readily available COVID-19 tests, health officials say the best way to reduce the rate of new infections is for all folks to behave like they have coronavirus even if they are asymptomatic. That means drastically limiting your contact with other people, practicing excellent personal hygiene and staying home.
If you believe you have contracted COVID-19, health officials ask that you call St. John’s Health at 307-739-4898 for a phone evaluation. Find more information here.