Health officials reported the first COVID-19 related death in Park County last week.
The deceased was an elderly Powell man who had health conditions that put him at risk of complications from the novel coronavirus, Park County Health Officer Dr. Aaron Billin said in a Thursday Facebook post. The resident had not been hospitalized.
“Our condolences go out to this man’s family,” Billin said.
Since March, there have been a total of 49 deaths classified as being related to COVID-19 among Wyoming residents, according to the Wyoming Department of Health. That’s among more than 4,900 confirmed and probable cases across the state.
“If death certificates do not describe COVID-19 as either causing or contributing to a person’s death, those deaths are not included in Wyoming’s count of coronavirus-related deaths,” the state says.
Another Park County resident had died in connection with COVID-19 back in July, but the elderly woman had actually died out of state; according to the Cody Enterprise, she was a 92-year-old Meeteetse resident who had recently moved to a memory care facility in Billings that suffered an outbreak of the disease.
The vast majority of people who become infected with the new coronavirus suffer mild or moderate flu-like symptoms, if any at all, but the disease can cause serious health problems; the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are the most at risk.
Cases have been rising in Wyoming in recent weeks with the rolling average number of daily new cases jumping from 27 to 50; as of Friday, Dr. Billin said Wyoming ranked 46th among the 50 states for its effective reproduction number — a measure of how fast the disease is spreading.
There were a total of 724 active confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases in Wyoming on Monday, with 23 people hospitalized, according to Department of Health data; that tied the previous peak seen in mid-April.
There were 23 active COVID-19 infections in Park County on Monday, according to state data, with three patients hospitalized at Cody Regional Health.
Efforts to limit the spread of the disease continue to impact daily life, including in schools.
Park County School District No. 1 Superintendent Jay Curtis announced Thursday that a Powell Middle School student tested positive for COVID-19. The student is in isolation, Curtis said. In addition, there are multiple Powell students in quarantine after apparently being exposed to the virus: four kids at the elementary level, three students from the middle school, and nine teens at the high school level, he said Monday.
“Of the nine that are quarantined at the high school, eight are expected back this week if they have not developed symptoms, and are released by public health,” Curtis said Monday.
All three PHS students who previously tested positive for COVID-19, as well as the one non-instructional staff member, fully recovered and were able to return to school, the superintendent said, announcing the good news in a Thursday afternoon message.
“One thing we have learned through the process is that our systems are in fact working to minimize spread,” Curtis wrote. “Face coverings have played a significant role in that.”
He expressed “a huge thanks” to Park 1 staff for their hard work in adhering to the systems the district has in place.
“Also a huge thank you to our students, parents, and community that have been in attendance at our games,” Curtis said. “To a large degree, everyone has been doing their part to help us keep this at bay, and hence, our students in face-to-face instruction.”