Local COVID-19 numbers rise again

House candidate sidelined after testing positive


The number of active cases of COVID-19 in Park County is on the rise again, with a candidate for the Wyoming House of Representatives among the local residents to recently become infected with the new coronavirus.

Park County Health Officer Dr. Aaron Billin said early Wednesday that there were 25 active cases in the county — up from a recent low of 18 cases.

One Park County resident infected with COVID-19, a Cody man, remains hospitalized in Billings, Billin said. Across the state, 16 patients with COVID-19 were reported to be hospitalized in Wyoming facilities on Wednesday.

Billin said 18 of Park County’s 25 active cases are in Cody. Ten of them, he said, are associated with a July 19 meet and greet for four candidates held at Gasthaus Cardi. Billin has said multiple staffers at the downtown Cody restaurant tested positive last week, and the business has temporarily closed.

Four Republican candidates for the Wyoming Legislature were featured at the July 19 event: Tim French, Dan Laursen, Nina Webber and Rachel Rodriguez-Williams.

Rodriguez-Williams, a first-time Republican candidate who’s running unopposed to represent House District 50, announced Wednesday that she has COVID-19.

The Cody resident said she won’t be making any personal appearances, but will remain available for questions and concerns via phone, email and Facebook messenger.

“Please pray for all that are fighting the virus,” she wrote on her campaign’s Facebook page.

Rodriguez-Williams had been absent from a candidate forum held at Powell’s Washington Park on Tuesday evening, while French, Laursen and Webber were in attendance. French had skipped a weekend event “out of an abundance of caution” after the cases tied to the meet and greet at Gasthaus Cardi, but he was able to announce Tuesday that he had tested negative for COVID-19. “So everybody can relax on that one,” he said, thanking those who offered well wishes.

Meanwhile, Millstone Pizza Company and Brewery announced Tuesday that it was closing its Cody location for 48 hours after a part-time worker tested positive.

“We will require all staff members to test, clean and sanitize the location thoroughly, so we can get back to business promptly,” the Cody restaurant’s managers said.

Basin Vision in Cody similarly announced that it closed on Monday and Tuesday after an employee tested positive. The business reopened Wednesday after the rest of the staff tested negative and the building was cleaned. Additionally, officials at Cody Regional Health told the Cody Enterprise that one of their staffers recently tested positive, but that the hospital has precautions in place and that there were no signs the virus was passed on to patients.

Across the state of Wyoming, there were 580 active cases of COVID-19, according to Wyoming Department of Health data updated on Wednesday. That data listed 41 active cases in Park County, as the numbers from the department and Billin have diverged in recent weeks; the primary difference is that Billin’s total of 25 active cases lists more recoveries.

On Tuesday — as Wyoming reported a new single-day high of 64 newly confirmed cases and a 26th death attributed to the virus — Gov. Mark Gordon announced he was extending the state’s current public health orders through Aug. 15.