A woman in her 50s who is Natrona County’s first confirmed positive identified COVID-19 patient probably was infected while traveling in Wyoming last week, a spokeswoman for the Casper-Natrona County Health Department said Monday.
She was tested at one of Wyoming Medical Center’s facilities last week and the health department reported the results Friday evening, Hailey Bloom said at the daily news conference of the county’s Emergency Operations Center.
“At this time we believe there is no danger to patients who may have been at Wyoming Medical Center’s facilities or the general public at this time,” Bloom said.
The woman and her family are self-quarantining at their home at the recommendation of health officials, she said.
During the weekend, the health department and the Wyoming Department of Health completed contact tracing on this case, Bloom said.
“Contact tracing is extensive, detailed and extremely time intensive,” she said. “It includes interviewing the positive patient, gathering travel history or possible places of exposure, and identifying and reaching out to any possible contacts as soon as possible.”
The health departments also contacted any people who may have been exposed or possibly at risk of exposure, and they are practicing self-isolation and are undergoing testing, Bloom said.
Not everyone who potentially was exposed will become ill, but health officials still are taking precautions, she added.
As of Monday morning, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department has conducted 83 tests: 66 were confirmed negative, one was confirmed positive, and the department is waiting for results of the other 16, Bloom said. (Statewide, there have been 28 reported cases as of Monday afternoon.)
The results typically take one to three days to be returned.
The health department is working with the large health care providers in the county to coordinate the shipment of tests, and the state health department’s laboratory is working to speed the processing and return the test results.
Casper-Natrona County Health Department representatives will be visiting establishments and businesses not affected by Gov. Mark Gordon’s executive order on Saturday, and advise them how they can continue operating with precautions such as social distancing, Bloom said.
Finally, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department has a hotline — (307) 577-9892 — from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for people to call if they have questions, do not have a primary health care provider and may have symptoms similar to the novel coronavirus COVID-19, she said.
“Again, we do not want citizens self-reporting to the emergency room,” Bloom said. “This places an unnecessary burden and risk onto our medical services.”