The number of active cases of COVID-19 in Park County sank significantly over the past week, according to figures from public health officers, as recoveries from the disease outpaced new …
The number of active cases of COVID-19 in Park County sank significantly over the past week, according to figures from public health officers, as recoveries from the disease outpaced new infections.
“Daily new cases are trending down statewide,” said County Health Officer Dr. Aaron Billin.
As of late Sunday night, he said Park County had 19 active confirmed or probable cases; that was down from 36 a week earlier.
Of the 19 active cases reported Sunday, 14 were from Cody, three from Powell, one from Wapiti and one temporary resident, Billin said. A total of 11 new cases were reported between Wednesday and Sunday.
In a positive development, a local man who’d been hospitalized with COVID-19 in Billings has been released, the doctor said, but, as of late Wednesday night, two Park County residents were hospitalized at West Park Hospital in Cody. Billin said one patient was admitted on Aug. 2 and the other on Aug. 3.
“We did some checking today and realized that some hospitalizations were not being reported,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “This has been addressed and hopefully we will have more accurate hospitalization numbers in the future.”
Their status was unclear on Monday, as the two hospitalizations in Cody have not been included in state data, which listed 15 hospitalizations in Wyoming facilities as of Monday.
Further, for reasons that are also unclear, Billin’s count of active cases differed significantly from those on the Wyoming Department of Health website. On Sunday and Monday, the state listed 45 active cases (43 confirmed and two probable) in the county.
The infected people in Park County have ranged in age from 5 to 94 years old, with an average age of 49, Billin said.
Most people infected with COVID-19 will suffer mild or moderate flu-like symptoms, but it can be serious or deadly in rare cases, posing the greatest risk to older residents and those with underlying health conditions. A total of 28 deaths have been recorded in Wyoming since March.
“Children are at negligible risk for a bad outcome, but they can still pass it on to someone who is at risk,” Billin said. “The local school districts have good safety plans in place for school opening this fall.”
Beyond testing individual patients, officials are continuing to draw samples from the City of Cody’s sewage to check for any spikes.
“The wastewater in Cody is being tested at the Wyoming Department of Health Laboratory twice weekly and shows persistent low levels of SARS-CoV-2 that is trending up slightly,” Billin said. He said the results indicate that no more than 2.7% of those using the city’s sewer system are shedding the virus, with the figure most likely being somewhere between 0.5-1.7%. That doesn’t necessarily reflect active infections, as people can still shed the virus after recovering.
A person is considered to have officially recovered from COVID-19 after 10 days have passed since the person began showing symptoms and they’ve gone 24 hours without a fever. However, “I have personally spoken with several people who are weeks to months into their recovery and are still dealing with lasting effects,” Billin said Thursday.
He also defended the public health measures put into place in Park County, noting that there have been no deaths and few hospitalizations attributed to the novel coronavirus.
“Nothing in these figures suggests public health measures were unnecessary,” Billin said.
The doctor is set to meet with Park County commissioners for a “Discussion on the Facts and Myths about COVID-19” at their regular meeting today (Tuesday) at 11:20 a.m. The meeting will be streamed online at parkcounty.us/commissioners/meetingminutes.html.