This page offers an opportunity for Hot Springs County residents to ask questions in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Answers to your questions are provided by our local healthcare providers. Responses will be answered with the most up to date information available at the time. Please be aware that responses may be subject to change as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.
Click on Questions Below
Q: Why do COVID numbers seem to tally differently on different websites? +A: CDC gets their daily numbers from WY Dept of Health. The data is constantly changing...Positives, Actives, Probables, Recovered Active, Recovered Probable. And then...the daily reporting times vary on different websites and days of the week. Certain websites combine categories into a total number while other websites present individual categories separately.
This causes occasional minor differences in numbers. At some point every day or so they usually all come into agreement, but it depends on when you might look. HSC Public Health posts accurate local numbers at www.hscounty.com on Tuesdays and Thursdays and will post on Facebook if there is a significant change in the local cases.
At the time of this posting:
Wyoming Department of Health: 20 lab confirmed cases (since the beginning of COVID-19)
15 lab confirmed cases recovered ( 20-15= 5 active cases currently)
3 probable cases (since the beginning of COVID-19)
3 probable cases recovered.
HSC has a total of 18 cases recovered if you add the 15 lab confirmed + the 3 probables recovered)
To Date in Hot Springs County:
Lab Confirmed Cases: 20
Probable Recovered: 3
CDC reports: Total cases 22 (this site hasn't been updated yet to reflect current numbers based on the timing of their scheduled updates)
We hope this helps clarify the differences in how each website reports their data.
Q: Why all the sanitizing of hands and objects to help stop a respiratory virus?” +A: COVID-19 is spread when the virus from an infected individual attaches to moisture droplets leaving the respiratory system. We might breathe them in when near an infected person. Coughs, sneezing, talking and singing are ways those droplets deposit on surfaces, where they can remain viable for varying amounts of time. When we touch these contaminated surfaces the virus can transfer to our hands. The virus is looking for a vehicle to get to our nose and mouth. If it gets to our face it is almost home. The guidance to not touch our face is still very important. From our nose or mouth it can make its way to our lungs and a new patient is created. Frequent washing and sanitizing of our hands and objects that we use can help prevent us from carrying the infected droplets to ourselves and others.
Q: How is compliance monitored? Our county seems to be doing a good job ofstaying safe, but how do we know every restaurant/ bar/retailer is incompliance? Statewide, there seem to be some issues as outbreaks areattributed to large gatherings. Who is responsible for assuring compliance? +A: There is no specific mechanism in place to assure compliance with state orders regarding COVID-19. We would hope that respect for the law (which is what the state orders are) and respect and concern for others would assure compliance. After all, all of these measures are designed to help keep all of us as safe as possible while keeping our economy operational.
As a business owner, complying with wearing masks is also beneficial. Imagine if one of their staff members became infected with COVID-19. If one individual exposed a large number of staff, the business could potentially have to close temporarily because of staffing issues. Masks protect everyone. I would encourage concerned citizens to express those concerns to business owners whose employees are not wearing face coverings or complying with other social distancing and safety measures.
The community also has an opportunity to monitor compliance. If you are uncomfortable with businesses not complying with the orders, not frequenting those businesses would be most effective, I would suspect.
Yes, there can be fines associated with violating the orders which would hopefully be a last resort if nothing else works to ensure compliance with the orders. I think the bottom line is that we should all be concerned enough about others around us to do everything we can to keep everyone safe. If that includes using face coverings, social distancing and other safety measures until this pandemic begins to slow, that doesn't seem like so much to ask. It is not a political issue - it is a real public health issue.
Dr Vernon Miller MD
Q: I’m curious as to why the change in reporting to once a day and why information like total tests, pending results, negative results, and individuals asking to self isolate are no longer part of the daily brief? +A: We changed reporting to once a day to coincide with the postings from the Wyoming Dept of Health. The reason we decreased the number of categories was it had become too confusing for people to interpret. Thank you for your question. Bill Gordon, Emergency Management Coordinator
Q: What is your response to people not wearing a mask because they “want to build a natural immunity to the virus?” +A: COVID-19 may cause a minor illness in most otherwise healthy younger adults, but that is not always the case. Some younger people and even children have gotten severely ill and have even died from the virus. We are still not sure if protective antibodies always occur when a person gets COVID-19, or if present, how long they may last.
For these reasons, efforts such as wearing a mask in public, social distancing and hand sanitizing are still a safer bet than getting the virus and hoping to build a natural immunity. Dr. Vernon Miller MD
Q: Test results to date show 51 individuals asked to isolate at home. How many are currently isolating? +A: It is challenging to pinpoint a number to date of those on home isolation. Individuals are added and released depending on the onset of symptoms, duration of symptoms, contact with other symptomatic individuals. Individuals are also labeled under home isolation until their test results come back. The home isolations are listed to help increase the awareness of possible COVID-19 in our community.
Q: I was disappointed to not be able to view Dr. Miller’s video. Not everyone is on Facebook. +A: Dr. Miller’s video can also be found on our hscounty.com/covid website under the May 5th date on 4:50pm post.
Q: As the State begins to issue new orders, do you see at this time, Hot Springs County requesting more or less restrictive orders than the State. +A: In general, a variance or exemption will be less restrictive than the state order. There may be clarifying language that will help explain how the variance or exemption will be different from the state order. The purpose for this clarifying language is to explain what the expectations/requirements are that allow us to grant a variance or exemption. We want to open our state again - and to do do it in a safe way! Thanks for the question. Vernon W. Miller MD FACS County Health Officer
Q: With there being only 1 confirmed positive test in our county, and that person having recovered, it gives the false sense of hope that the virus really isn't here. Why should residents in our county continue to take this seriously? +A: "It is important to take this seriously because it could be brought into our community by people traveling or those not from our community. We have an older population and people with multiple medical problems who are at high risk for serious illness and even death. It is important that everyone takes precautions to protect each other and our community even those who are younger and seemingly not at much risk." Dr. Hallie Bischoff
Q: As restrictions are lifted in our state, what worries does our local medical community have, if any? +A: "Less restrictions means more people are traveling and increased chance of spread of this virus. More spread means more people may be exposed and more people with the virus with potentially some needing hospitalized. We are monitoring the situation closely." Dr. Hallie Bischoff
Q: Why has there been such a low amount of testing in Hot Springs County compared to most other counties in the state? +A: 4/24 Because of limited testing supplies and the Wyoming Public Health Lab setting specific priorities that limited the individuals who could be tested. Hot Springs County attempted to send tests to commercial labs but the turn around time was slow. Recently, those testing capacities at WPHL have been expanded to include all symptomatic patients, and supplies to our county have improved. One of our goals in attempts to "reopen" is to increase the testing capacity and ensure our healthcare system has the capacity to safely treat COVID-19 patients and also being able to include other medical concerns. We are encouraging wider testing to be able to gather more complete data and make better informed decisions. Thank you for submitting your question. Also, thanks to our community for your continued efforts in slowing the spread. Dr. Vernon Miller, MD
Q: Are both the positives listed on the hscounty.com/covid website both Hot Springs County residents or are the positive cases the 1 Hot Springs/1 Washakie resident just recatergorized? +A: 4/20/20 The positive cases were combined because both tests were run in Hot Springs County. The HSC resident is considered recovered. The Washakie resident status is available under Washakie County. Tricia McPhie Hot Springs County Nurse Manager
Q: When do I need to wear a homemade mask? +A: 4/20/20 Per CDC guidelines, Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected. Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing. Remember, it is best practice to only send 1 family member to the store for necessary items. Tricia McPhie Hot Springs County Nurse Manager
Q: I’m curious as to why the change in reporting to once a day and why information like total tests, pending results, negative results, and individuals asking to self isolate are no longer part of the daily brief? +
See the websites referenced below for the most up to date information.