Fremont County Public Health has issued the following release:
March 9, 2020
This will serve as an updated Public Health announcement regarding COVID-19. There may be more notifications going forward if/when recommendations change. The public health notices will be based on current understanding and recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).
Current Risk of COVID-19 infection?
The current risk in Fremont County, specifically, and Wyoming, generally, is LOW. However, Colorado now has documented cases of COVID-19 (mostly from international travel) so the potential for spread is real.
Please remember the INFLUENZA virus is currently widespread in the state, as well as, other common respiratory viruses. These viruses, most likely, will continue to be the main sources of illness this winter here in Fremont County and precautions to prevent illness will be similar.
A Review of what is COVID-19
COVID-19 is the disease name. The disease primarily causes upper respiratory symptoms including fever, cough and, potentially, shortness of breath.
SARS-CoV-2 is the virus which causes COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 is in the corona virus family. This is a new strain of a common virus that is now passing from person to person.
Who is getting ill with COVID-19?
Currently, data suggests that about 80% of people who get COVID-19 have a mild or moderate illness BUT people over 65 years old are at higher risk of severe disease (this risk goes up significantly as people get older to as high as 15% risk of severe disease if over 80). Also, people with chronic heart and lung disease, diabetes and other processes are higher risk as well than the general public.
How does the virus pass from one person to another?
Our current understanding suggests that the virus is primarily shared from one person to another through respiratory droplets as we cough and sneeze, as well as prolonged close contact.
Best Protection from COVID-19
The best ways for you to STAY WELL and PROTECT those in your family and community who might be at higher risk from influenza, upper respiratory infections, as well as, COVID-19 include using Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPI) as noted below:
1) STAY HOME from school, work or other gatherings if you are ill
2) Wash hands OFTEN for at least 20 seconds, and if no water is available use alcohol- based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
Times to consider washing are before eating, after using the toilet, after cough and sneezes, handshakes, etc.
3) Get a FLU vaccine if you have not already done so
4) Avoid close contact with people who are sick
5) Avoid touching your FACE with unwashed hands
6) Cough or sneeze into a tissue, throw the tissue away, then WASH your hands. If no tissue is available use the inside of your elbow as a cough barrier.
7) Clean high use surfaces in your home and at work as often as possible
(at least 2x/day). Typical cleaners are adequate but for a more complete list go here
and down the page on right look for this (examples at this link)
Further info on NPI can be found here https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/index.html
Wearing a mask if you are coughing and sneezing can help prevent the spread of your respiratory droplets to others, so it is recommended. Please thank your neighbor if they are wearing a mask.
Wearing a mask if you are not ill does not completely protect from the virus and is currently not recommended.
There is NO current vaccine for COVID-19. The flu vaccine is still recommended and can offer protection from Influenza A and B.
There is NO current medicine to specifically treat COVID-19. Tamiflu is a possible treatment for Influenza A and B.
Fremont County Public Health Prevent. Promote. Protect.
What puts me at higher risk for COVID-19 Infection?
If you have FEVER (subjective or measured), COUGH or SHORTNESS OF BREATH AND either of the descriptions below:
1) Caring for an individual who has KNOWN COVID-19
infection documented by lab testing (this may be a health care worker or family member with prolonged, close contact)
2) Travel to China, South Korea, Italy, Japan and Iran in the past 14 days
you are considered higher risk for illness from COVID-19 virus
When Should I call my Health Provider?
If you have a temperature over 100.4 F, a worsening cough, or difficulty breathing.
If you are specifically concerned about a COVID-19 infection because you have a higher risk as noted above.
Because of widespread Influenza and other illness in our community you should IDEALLY CALL your provider’s office FIRST.
Why call ahead?
1) Many clinics will be changing triage systems to manage the flow and placement of patients. This is being done to ensure both non-ill community members and clinic staff members remain healthy during the Influenza and viral respiratory season.
2) As more testing becomes available both from the WDH lab and private labs, people at high risk should call ahead to let the clinic know in advance as certain precautions are required for staff performing the testing.
3) If you are mildly ill and no risk factors, testing can still be done (clinic dependent however) BUT it should be known that per the March 4,2020 WDH Health Alert statement that:
All outpatients who are tested for COVID-19 are required to self-isolate in their homes until negative test results are obtained. Guidance for home isolation for persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent- spread.html.
So again, please CALL AHEAD FIRST if possible.
Lander 450 North 2nd, Room 350 (307)332-1073; Fax 332-1064 Outlying areas 800-967-2297, ext 1073
Riverton 322 North 8th West (307)856-6979; Fax 856-6850 Outlying areas 800-967-2297, ext 3620
Fremont County Public Health Prevent. Promote. Protect.
Thank you for caring about your health and the health of your community. Please take some time to educate yourself further. Here are some helpful educational links.
Brian Gee MD Fremont County CHO