COVID-19 cases steady, vaccine eligibility expanded

Posted 3/4/21

Park County continues to see a steady number of cases of COVID-19. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Wyoming Department of Health reported 19 active infections within the county. That’s …

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COVID-19 cases steady, vaccine eligibility expanded

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Park County continues to see a steady number of cases of COVID-19. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Wyoming Department of Health reported 19 active infections within the county. That’s effectively the same number of cases that were present a week ago and remains the lowest level seen since last summer.

While some counties have begun to seek relaxed public health orders — and a group of citizens recently filed a class action lawsuit seeking to void all of the state’s restrictions — Park County Health Officer Dr. Aaron Billin indicated Monday that he is not yet ready to loosen the rules here. He noted the state’s health orders have been loosening and pointed to state metrics that indicate there’s still a relatively high number of local cases on a per capita basis.

“Park County is very average right now,” Billin said, adding, “running before we can walk could lead to another surge in cases.”

In a positive change from a week ago, there were zero patients hospitalized with the disease in the county on Tuesday — down from two. It’s one of the first times in months that there have been no COVID-19 patients at Powell Valley Healthcare and Cody Regional Health.

Meanwhile, vaccinations against the disease continue. As of Monday, roughly 7,000 county residents had received an initial dose of the vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna, Billin said, with about 4,000 residents fully immunized with two doses.

“We are just getting to the point in Park County where vaccination is making a significant dent in the pandemic,” he said.

With supplies still limited, only certain groups of residents are currently being allowed to sign up for vaccinations. However, Park County Public Health officials announced Wednesday that eligibility is being expanded to “Tier 1c.” Now any residents ages 50 and up can receive a vaccination, as can those with certain underlying medical conditions — such as asthma and high blood pressure — and people living in group settings, including jails.

The Wyoming Department of Health is encouraging adults who have high-risk medical conditions to sign up for a vaccine as soon as they can. The department said roughly 70% of Wyoming’s COVID-19-related deaths “have been among people who had known medical conditions that put them at higher risk of severe illness.”

On Tuesday, the Department of Health announced the 27th COVID-19-related death in Park County. The deceased was described as an older man who had health conditions that put him at greater risk from the disease; he died last month. Over the past year, there have been more than 2,600 confirmed and probable cases documented in the county.

For more information about vaccine eligibility and to sign up for a dose, visit www.parkcounty.us/CoronaVirus.

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