President, Governor declare states of emergency

Declarations intended to slow spread of COVID-19

NIOBRARA COUNTY – President Donald Trump declared a National State of Emergency in order to better control the nationwide COVID-19 situation and limit the spread of the disease.

Trump said the federal declaration will allow health care providers the resources they need to handle the situation.

“(This will) waive provisions of applicable laws and regulations to give doctors, hospitals – all hospitals – and health care providers maximum flexibility to respond to the virus," he said.

Gov. Mark Gordon followed suit this afternoon by declaring a state of emergency in Wyoming. There is still just one confirmed COVID-19 case in Wyoming, but the declarations will free up federal funds and resources to better limit and mitigate the disease.

“Although we have only one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Wyoming, I have taken this action to ensure we are prepared in the event additional steps need to be taken,” Gordon was quoted in a press release. “We continue to be most concerned about our state’s elderly and vulnerable populations and want to ensure we are taking all necessary steps to address what we may face going forward.”

Both leaders encouraged people to stay home and take the proper precautions to avoid the virus.

“In the coming weeks, we will have to make sacrifices,” Trump said. “These short-term sacrifices are for long-term gains.”

There are no cases of COVID-19 in Goshen County at this time, and Goshen County Public Health issued guidelines earlier this week for people who may be experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

Public health emergency response coordinator Heather Saul said patients experiencing symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath need to call ahead before seeking medical treatment.

“If somebody calls or has some flu-like symptoms, we will go into a protocol,” Saul said. “The protocol will ask if they’ve been traveling, if they have a fever, if they don’t, and then from there we will contact the health provider. We will have them escorted to the clinic. The clinic will then do three different tests – strep, influenza and RSV. If those come back negative, that provider will call the state health department.”

The Wyoming Department of Health issued a press release earlier this week with guidelines to avoid contracting or spreading viral diseases, like COVID-19. Dr. Alexia Harrist, WDH state epidemiologist, said there are still many unknown factors around COVID-19.

“There are simply some things we don’t yet fully know about COVID-19, such as how easily it spreads and how many patients may experience severe illness,” Harrist said. “However, the symptoms reported with this disease are familiar to all of us: fever, cough and shortness of breath.”

Steps to avoid spreading respiratory illness, including COVID-19:


  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible
  • Stay home if sick
  • Cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60 percent alcohol.

Harrist did note that travel restrictions and protocol need to be taken seriously.

“Travel recommendations and restrictions are also important to help prevent the spread of illness,” Harrist said. “The CDC currently recommends no non-essential travel to China, Iran, South Korea and Italy, and no travel on cruise ships. Entry to the United States from China and Iran is also restricted.”


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