The Casper-Natrona County Health Department has identified three clusters of COVID-19 patients in the county, with the largest group exposed at the Wyoming Behavioral Institute, health department spokeswoman Hailey Bloom said Friday.

As of Friday afternoon, there have been 21 county residents who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and four them have recovered, Bloom said at the health department's teleconference from the county's Emergency Operations Center.

Two were confirmed Friday morning, she added.

Of the 21 cases in Natrona County, Bloom said 14 are in three identified epidemiologically connected clusters: related to travel within Wyoming; related to international travel; and related to the Wyoming Behavioral Institute.

The WBI is working with the health department officers to contain the virus and prevent further transmission to staff, patients and visitors, Bloom said.

The most recent cases and their believed related exposure to the coronavirus are these:

  • Female in her 50s -- exposure related to affiliation with WBI.
  • Female in her 50s -- exposure related to affiliation with WBI.
  • Male in his 20s -- exposure related to affiliation with WBI.
  • Female in her 60s -- exposure related to direct contact with a known positive case.
  • Male in his 60s -- exposure connected to his work in health care.
  • Male, age not identified -- exposure related to affiliation with WBI.
  • Female in her 20s -- exposure related to affiliation with WBI.
  • Female in her 40s -- exposure related to affiliation with WBI.
  • Female in her 50s -- exposure connected to her work in health care.
  • Male, age not identified -- exposure related to affiliation with WBI.
  • Female in her 20s -- exposure related to affiliation with WBI.
  • Female in her 20s -- exposure is currently unknown.

Bloom said 390 tests in Natrona County have been performed either at the health department and at the Wyoming Medical Center, with 21 of them being confirmed positive, 307 confirmed negative, and the rest are awaiting confirmation.

The Wyoming Department of Health said Friday morning the county should be receiving an unknown number of test kits next week, she said.

Test results at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory usually take one to three days to be returned.

Thursday, the Wyoming Department of Health announced it would limit its testing to established priority patients and situations including hospitalized patients, patients or staff in communal settings such as nursing home, health care workers and first responders, people over 65 or with underlying health conditions, and pregnant women.

Tests for people not in those categories will be sent to commercial labs, but it is unknown how long they are taking to return results, Bloom said.

In reviewing the experiences of other countries and the United States, the higher the number of positive cases means there is more transmission of the virus, she said.

Bloom again urged residents to not self-report to the Wyoming Medical Center's emergency room. If they have significant shortness of breath, they should call 911.

People who have symptoms should call their doctor or the Casper-Natrona County Health Department's hotline at 577-9892 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit the WMC respiratory symptom screening clinic at 245 S. Fenway St., she said.

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