Sheridan County is experiencing up and downs in the fight against COVID-19. While Governor Mark Gordon has reported that statewide daily new cases have declined in the past two weeks, Sheridan County is experiencing an uptick in positive cases.
At the same time, Sheridan County School District 2 reached a positive milestone this week, demonstrating that their precautionary measures are working. In the first week of school, public health was alerted to a student who had tested positive for COVID-19 and had attended classes. The school and public health partnered to identify, contact and quarantine anyone who was in direct contact with this student. Approximately 25 people were quarantined, and this week, all of those contacts were released from quarantine without developing illness. “The school protocols are working,” said Public Health Officer Ian Hunter. “If those 25 close contacts were not wearing masks, we would have different news to share.”
Given the long incubation period of COVID-19 and the ability to be asymptomatic while positive, Public Health has anticipated cases in our school.Identifying, contacting and quarantining students in close contact with a positive case is a vital process for reducing risk. “While the masks and distancing are working, we cannot take the chance of students attending school if they may have contracted COVID-19,” said Public Health Nurse Manager Debra Haar.
Community effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19
“Our schools have done a great job at reducing the potential spread of COVID-19. However, our positive cases appear to have contracted COVID while outside school. So our schools can do everything possible to prevent COVID, but if we’re not doing our part in the community, this isn’t going to work,” said Hunter. In addition to an increase in positive cases, the Incident Management has seen two concerning community issues arise:
- People are in close contact with larger groups now more than they were in the spring. Instead of contacting 5 or 6 close contacts, Public Health is contacting 10 or more close contacts.
- COVID-19 fatigue has resulted in the community losing discipline in adhering to precautionary measures.
The community must remain vigilant in staying home when sick, social distancing, and wearing face masks to keep the risk under control. “We realize that we have been asking the community to distance and wear masks for a long time and it’s unpleasant,” said Haar. “Unfortunately, we need to reinvigorate that effort as we are seeing our numbers increase.”
Sheridan County COVID-19 Case Count
Below is the current case count for Sheridan County residents. For weekday updates or definitions for each of these numbers, visit https://www.sheridancounty.com/covid-19/.
Sheridan County Residents
Total Lab Confirmed Positive Cases: 129
Active Confirmed Cases: 25
Active Probable Cases: 22
Currently hospitalized in Sheridan County (residents & nonresidents): 2
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Sheridan County Public Health staff have been in contact with over 371 Sheridan County residents who have been in close contact with, or live in the same household as, someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19. These individuals have not experienced symptoms of COVID-19, but they have been or are currently being monitored and quarantined (as necessary) to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19.
Public Health is also communicating with and monitoring Sheridan County residents who experience symptoms of COVID-19, but have not been positively confirmed through laboratory testing. Sheridan County has had 66 (cumulative total) of these probable cases of COVID-19, with 22 cases currently being monitored and quarantined.
COVID-19 Best Practices
The public is encouraged to follow these guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Wyoming Department of Health (WDH):
- Stay home if sick. (If you are concerned that the symptoms you are experiencing are outside of your normal everyday condition, please consult your physician.)
- Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with anyone outside of your household.
- Wear cloth face coverings when out in the public.
- Avoid gatherings of 50 or more people.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Please continue to be vigilant and practice all appropriate hygiene and distancing recommendations. Your hard work protects you, your family, and your community.