COVID-19 surges in Wyoming with university leading state
CHEYENNE, Wyo. | BY MEAD GRUVER, (AP) — A surge in the coronavirus continued Monday in Wyoming, with the state’s only four-year public university leading the state.
Those currently known to be infected with the virus in Wyoming reached 772, up from 428 a week ago for the highest number of active cases in the state to date, the Wyoming Department of Health reported.
Until last week, Wyoming had been averaging about 500 active cases — the number of all reported cases minus those reported to have recovered — since July.
The largest share of new confirmed cases in Wyoming by far Monday was in Albany County, home to the University of Wyoming. In-person classes at the university resumed Sept. 15 after a more than week-long delay because of virus cases among students and employees.
Twenty new cases of coronavirus were reported in Albany County, which has a total of 142 active cases of coronavirus, according to state health officials.
Of those cases in Albany County, 95 were at the University of Wyoming: 71 students living off campus, nine students living on campus and 15 employees, according to the university’s online COVID-19 tracker.
No county in Wyoming including the two most populous, Laramie and Natrona counties, had more confirmed cases than the university or Albany County as a whole.
University officials are “keenly aware” that cases among students are the biggest factor in the local uptick in cases, university spokesman Chad Baldwin said by email Monday.
The university nonetheless planned to go ahead with the next phase of reopening in-person classes for students other than freshmen starting next Monday, Baldwin said.
“We’re working with local authorities and business leaders to encourage responsible behavior while at the same time taking appropriate disciplinary action when ours and the state’s COVID guidelines and restrictions are flouted,” Baldwin said.
Wyoming’s 22 other counties had seven or fewer new cases.
Twenty-three people statewide were hospitalized related to the coronavirus Monday, tying the previous high reached in late April.
No more than 10 people at a time were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Wyoming in June.
Hospitalizations rose in July and August but didn’t surpass 20 until this week.