Teton County is ordering people to stay home through the month of April to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Modeling indicates we likely have not yet reached the peak of this outbreak,” Dr. Travis Riddell, Teton District health officer, said in a press release. “It does appear Jackson Hole is flattening the curve, but continued social distancing is necessary to keep our community healthy.”
According to a model created by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Wyoming could experience its peak COVID-19-related deaths (two per day) on May 7. That represents roughly a one-week delay from the model’s previous projections, suggesting social distancing measures are helping to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. Still, the number of cases in Teton County continues to climb. It has 59 confirmed and 28 probable cases. That brings the county’s per capita infection rate to 251 cases per 100,000 residents. (For comparison, Laramie County, which leads the state with 64 cases, has a per capita infection rate of 64 cases per 100,000 residents.)
The order bans people from gathering with anyone outside of their households and should be interpreted “as basically a stay-at-home measure,” Riddell said when the directive was first enacted in late-March.
People are still allowed to leave their homes for essential activities such a grocery shopping and physical exercise.
Under the order, those who venture out for an approved reason must maintain at least six feet of distance from others. The order also directs people to practice personal hygiene measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 such as frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, covering coughs or sneezes with one’s sleeve or elbow, and regularly cleaning surfaces. People should also avoid shaking hands with others.
CDC guidelines recommend all people wear cloth masks in public to prevent asymptomatic people from spreading the new coronavirus to others.
The extension of the countywide health order comes on the heels of Wyoming’s second COVID-19-related death. The Wyoming Department of Health reported today the death of an “older man” from Laramie County. It confirmed the state’s first death Monday— an “older man” from Johnson County with health issues.
State health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist emphasized the toll COVID-19 takes on vulnerable populations.
“While anyone can get sick and has a chance of a serious illness with COVID-19, we do know those who are aged 65 and older and people who have certain medical conditions are more likely to experience complications and become severely ill,” Harrist said in a statement.
She urged all people “to do their part to help reduce the spread of this disease. Wyoming must take this threat seriously.”
The state has enacted statewide closures of many nonessential services through April but has not yet passed a stay-at-home measure.
Statewide, Wyoming has 288 confirmed and 105 probable cases of the new coronavirus.