Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
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For updated numbers for the State of Wyoming please visit:
Feeling sick? Call your primary care provider. If you don’t have one, call St John’s Health Hotline (307) 739-4898, option 3, or click here for a CDC chatbot to evaluate your symptoms.
Think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19? Click here for directions from the Wyoming Department of Health.
On risk management and decision making:
Teton County’s efforts at physical distancing have been very successful. Though our testing event was a self-selected group and not a perfect, random slice of the community, the results are promising and imply that we have crushed the curve. We are, however, an international vacation destination, drawing visitors from all over the country and the world. As we move forward through risk level orange and eventually into the yellow (which likely won’t be for another month or more), it is important to remember that COVID-19 still poses a significant risk to our community. Our message is no longer “stay home, save lives,” but rather, consider the risk levels of various activities, evaluate what makes sense for you, and take reasonable precautions. Of course there are health orders to follow and local recommendations to heed, but moving forward, most decisions around COVID-19 exposure and risk are up to individuals, and will look different from person to person, family to family.
Loose guidelines can be difficult for those that prefer straight-forward rules or regulations. With this in mind, and with the knowledge that COVID-19 is far from gone from our country, the Health Department wants to shed some light on decision making and risk mitigation.
We want you to spend time outside. We want you to have meaningful social interactions with your friends and family. We want you to celebrate milestones and support local businesses. When making decisions about activities, consider both the risk and the reward. If the reward is high for you, make your decision, and mitigate as much risk as you can.
Some things to keep in mind: outside is better than inside. Contact tracing from hotspots in other states has shown that even a very large indoor space (like a church), does not inhibit the transfer of the virus. In addition, if an air conditioner or fan is blowing virus particles in a particular direction, it can move far past the six feet suggestion of physical distancing. Being outside allows for significant dissipation of particles if there is a positive case in the area. The smaller the group, the fewer people that can contract the virus if there is a positive individual present. Were you invited to a birthday party? How many people are going? The smaller the group, the safer the event. The more every individual considers the risks in every situation, the more safe we will all be. Invited to a graduation party? Are the other invitees all people that you know, and do you know if they have been taking reasonable precautions? That is an entirely different situation than a conference of strangers.
Here are highlights to consider:
Outside is better than inside
A smaller group is better than a bigger group
It’s safer to be around people whose habits you know
Your own home and your own car are safer than other people’s homes or carpooling
Washing hands, hand sanitizing, and good personal hygiene is of the utmost importance
Avoid anything that many people have touched
Wearing a cloth face covering protects others from you. If everyone does it, everyone is protected
Infection = exposure x time. Thirty seconds in a port-o-potty is likely to be less risky than two hours in a restaurant
The other thing to consider is that everyone’s situation is different. If you are a 30-year old with no pre-existing medical conditions, no one in your life who is high-risk, and you live alone, your risk tolerance is likely higher than someone with young children or a family member or housemate with a pre-existing condition. An ER nurse in a COVID-19 hotspot is likely to be more strict with their movements and actions than someone who has never interacted with a positive COVID-19 case. You know what’s best for you based on your individual experience.
Here’s an example of risk evaluation/mitigation: You want to have a birthday party for your child.
Have it outside. Remember, outside is better than inside.
Invite only their best friends (and hopefully don’t hurt any feelings in the process). Keeping the group smaller is better than inviting 60 children.
In this small group, these are children and parents you know well. You know what they’ve been up to in the past two weeks, and it’s nothing you wouldn’t do.
Make sure that hand-washing and hand sanitizer are readily available.
Have everyone bring their own food, or if you serve food, have it be individualized, pre-wrapped, or served by one person. Avoid family style or leaving food out on tables to be touched by many people.
Ask people to wear masks for the entire party, or at least t when they go inside to use the bathroom.
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Community Update
The Teton County Health Department and St John’s Health are actively monitoring an outbreak of a disease called COVID-19 that is occurring around the world and in the United States. COVID-19 is caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that emerged in China in early December 2019 and continues to spread in several countries, including the United States. The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which can cause disease in both humans and animals. As a newly emerging infection, COVID-19 warrants special attention. There are some characteristics of COVID-19 that are not well understood at this time, including how easily it spreads from person to person and how many people may experience severe illness. Recent data suggest that elderly people and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be at the greatest risk from this disease. There is currently no vaccine.
What’s Happening in Wyoming & Teton County
The Teton County Health Department is working with the Wyoming Department of Health, St. John’s Health, and other local partners throughout Teton County to prepare our community. The Health Department is continually monitoring the situation and using the Teton County/Town of Jackson Unified Command structure to ensure effective communication and coordination with all involved agencies.
Dr. Travis Riddell, Teton County Health Officer, advises Teton County residents to stay informed about COVID-19 and to look for updates and recommendations from credible sources such as the Wyoming Department of Health and the CDC.
Symptoms of the COVID-19 virus include sore throat, muscle aches, a loss of taste or smell, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Health officials are encouraging individuals to take the following steps to help prevent spreading:
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 percent alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs. A list of COVID19-fighting products can be found here: https://www.americanchemistry.com/Novel-Coronavirus-Fighting-Products-List.pdf
Avoid close contact with sick people.
If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
Stay home if you are sick.
Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
If you can work from home, please do so.
Practice social distancing: stay home as much as possible. When outside of the home, maintain a six foot distance between you and people who are not your family.
When outside of the home, wear a cloth face covering. This is especially important in areas where maintaining healthy physical distancing is difficult, such as the grocery store or post office.
If you are volunteering or bringing groceries or other goods to a person in need, please watch this video from the Health Department to learn how to do so safely.
Prepare your household for COVID19. Guidance can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/get-your-household-ready-for-COVID-19.html
To prevent influenza and possible unnecessary evaluation for COVID-19, all persons aged ≥6 months should receive an annual influenza vaccine if they have not done so already.