Governor Gordon keeps Wyoming up-to-date regarding safety and COVID
June 25, 2020
After a short break, Governor Mark Gordon once again took to the podium to continue to keep Wyomingites informed of the current COVID situation. Currently there are 866 positive cases of Corona in Wyoming 106 of those cases coming up in the last week. This is double the amount of cases that were confirmed in the first week of June, and while there are 852 cases of recovering or recovered cases Gordon is concerned that we are seeing a rising trend.
“What that means is that sadly, we are trending higher with the 232 active cases. It seems to me that not long ago we were under 200 and that makes me sad because we are now spiking and comparing with the other numbers that are spiking, but on the good side, we only have seven hospitalized. There are currently eighteen deaths and our ability to maintain progress is dependent upon the good people of Wyoming” the governor said.
Gordon reiterated that while he understands that Wyoming cowboys yearn to run through the pastures and “buck” this is not the time. Gordon emphasized the importance of continuing to stay the course while riding out this virus. The governor stated that many of the newer cases that are being reported are younger citizens and that while we may want to run away, this is not the time. Gordon cautioned against the carelessness, recklessness, and sometimes thoughtlessness that causes us to loosen our guard and could cause us to move backwards. While traveling throughout the state and talking to industry managers there is a consistent thread of worry about the loss of production due to this recklessness and the governor would like all Wyomingites to continue to stay vigilant.
With the warning Gordon was also excited to announce that the Cody Night Rodeo will continue to take place on the 20th of next month, Gordon stressed that Wyoming needs to be the safe place where the residents are responsible and thoughtful of others. While Wyoming is getting an influx of visitors from Colorado and other states, Gordon stated that tourists should feel comfortable coming here knowing that the residents of the state are taking cautions to ensure continued health and safety. While some residents may push against the thought of keeping our state safe for visitors, many will understand the necessity of the revenue that these tourists bring with them.
Gordon was happy that many of the smaller rodeos that usually take place in the state are continuing to operate with most of the attendees doing what is necessary to keep each other safe. Social distancing is being practiced and many are continuing to wear masks when in public. Governor Gordon was quick to praise the residents of Wyoming and continued to emphasize that residents here are currently an example to the rest of the nation.
Dr. Alexia Harrist was in attendance as well to pass out current COVID information. “While we see signs of optimism for Wyoming overall when it comes to COVID-19 and our ability to respond unfortunately we also continue to see more cases. There was a particular increase over the last week in multiple counties, and we have changed new cases to concerning on our current metric document” stated Harrist. The metric document that Dr. Harrist is referring to has had new cases as the only category that was considered stabilizing. As of this conference all matrices are labeled as stabilizing with percentage of positive tests labeled as improving, and only new cases reported as concerning.
While Wyoming continues to move forward Dr. Harrist commented that most of the new cases were in one county where there was a large outdoor event and safe practices were not being adhered to. Harrist again reiterated the importance of continuing to be vigilant and aware of the threat that has not been contained just yet. Dr. Harrist also continued to assert the importance of understanding that all it takes is one sick person. Depending on how large a company is, Harrist stated that one sick worker can infect several of the co-workers around him or her, and that company could potentially suffer devastating losses contingent on how many workers they lose to sickness. “This disease has not gone away so please think of others when you make choices” Harrist commented.
Lastly Dr. Harrist outlined the importance of quarantine and isolation orders. If you have been exposed to COVID and are given a quarantine order it is essential that you follow that order as it was issued. If you have been determined to have contracted COVID-19 and are given an isolation order it is vital to follow that order to the letter to keep from infecting others. In any issue, Dr. Harrist stressed the importance of understanding the difference between the two orders and understanding your personal responsibility when it comes to following these issued orders. Dr. Harrist also announced that while nursing homes and assisted living facilities are still struggling to maintain health within their facilities, they also understand the difficulties of families being separated from their loved ones. Some nursing homes will begin to offer some limited outside visitations.
Governor Gordon touched on the subject of tourism within the state as the weather allows. Noticing a large number or RV’s and out-of-state license plates, many vendors within the state are reporting that their sales tax revenues are rebounding better than originally thought. Most Wyoming residents will understand the need for tourists to help revitalize our struggling economy, and the news that people are coming in is good news. Opening Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks for Memorial Day was a success with only 200 less cars than Memorial Day last year. While hotel owners have not seen the numbers that they are used to, motor home sales are at a 600 percent increase as people plan to spend their vacations camping.
Gordon also outlined a tentative plan for schools for the upcoming fall. He reiterated that the governing bodies have been working tirelessly to outline a plan that would be conducive to success for students, teachers, and parents alike. Gordon just forwarded a 25-million-dollar plan that would allow for the University of Wyoming and the smaller junior colleges as well as the local districts around the state to open and be able to have students on campus. This plan includes funding for personal protective equipment to be available to each student and teacher as necessary, and many families are receiving questionnaires to determine how successful they think it will be to require students to wear masks throughout the school day. “I really feel like our education opportunities this fall will continue to go forward” Gordon stated.
The governor outlined the second portion of the CARES Act that continues to allow for small business to seek relief for losses that they may be incurring. The Business Interruption Stipend Program has sent out its first checks as of last week. Currently there are 2709 applications pending for Wyoming small businesses with 22.3 million dollars committed already and three million dollars already having been paid out. Nine million dollars of this stipend is being put to the side as use specifically for restaurants and bars to ensure that they are still able to pay all of their employees even when they are forced by distancing rules to maintain a smaller staff.
Gordon also announced that the WCDA is currently putting the emergency housing assistance program into the works as well. For those that have already applied, those first checks will also be going out this week. This program was put into place to ensure that Wyomingites that found themselves out of work did not also find themselves without a home. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic there was a nationwide concern for not only renters, but homeowners who had rentals as well. This assistance plan will allow for renters to be able to keep their homes, and those landlords that still must make payments on their properties to do so as well. If you need rent or mortgage assistance the WCDA is now taking applications for those funds.
The governor wants everyone to understand that while COVID-19 is an issue throughout the state, the pressing matters that Wyoming was experiencing before are still there under the surface. “Its important that as we get back to work that we understand those challenges are still there. Wyoming still faces the same opportunities, and I am working every day, my staff is working every day, to make sure that Wyoming has a bright future” Gordon stated. No matter where you stand on the COVID matter, it is nice to hear that our government officials still understand that there is a life to be lived beyond the pandemic.