Wyoming Department of Health Announces ‘Final Phase’ of Health Orders
The Wyoming Department of Health has announced "the likely final phase" for statewide public health orders, related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Per a press release from WDH, this phase includes the "immediate removal of one of the two remaining orders."
That order is Statewide Public Health Order #2, which affected indoor events of more than 500 people. It is now eliminated.
Indoor events are no longer required to run at half-capacity.
The release does note that mask use and physical distancing requirements in statewide public health order #1, related to K-12 schools will remain through May 31, but stated that those same rules for colleges have now been eliminated.
An extension of public health order #1 is not expected past May 31.
“We are making these changes now because we are confident in the effectiveness of the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines," said Dr. Alexia Harrist, State Health Officer and State Epidemiologist with WDH. "We are seeing excellent results among those who have been vaccinated. The vaccines are doing their job very well."
Data from the Wyoming Department of Health shows more than 28 percent of Wyoming residents are fully vaccinated, "with more people choosing the vaccines every day."
“There is no question we would like to see a much higher coverage percentage,” Harrist said. “But adults, including college students, across our state have had ample opportunity to choose vaccination by this point,” Harrist said. “The change to the order affecting schools and colleges will reflect recently updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Harrist affirmed that the Pfizer vaccine was recently made available for children, aged 12-15, in addition to anyone over the age of 16. Currently, the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only authorized for adults, aged 18 and over. No COVID vaccine has been authorized yet for children under the age of 12.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 has not disappeared completely," Harrist said. "We continue to see confirmed cases across the state. The vast majority of recent, new cases have involved people who were not yet fully vaccinated. I strongly encourage anyone who is eligible but who hasn’t yet been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible. These vaccines are free, safe and effective. They offer many benefits, such as the ability to avoid quarantine after exposure to COVID-19, and are the best route we have to outsmart the pandemic."
Harrist stated that she expects specific protocols for the operation of K-12 schools during the pandemic will be decided by the school district board past June 1.
“We are, of course, offering guidance and advice and we encourage schools to work closely with their county health representatives. It will be important to monitor local health situations," she said.
The Wyoming Department of Health continues to recommend, but not require, the use of masks in indoor public spaces when common-sense physical distancing cannot be maintained.
“There are specific places where precautions such as mask use are still recommended for everyone, such as healthcare settings including nursing homes and assisted living facilities, correctional facilities and homeless shelters,” Harrist said. “Private businesses and organizations may also still choose to require masks and other precautions. We ask individuals to be respectful of requirements in those settings.”
Information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in Wyoming can be found at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/immunization/wyoming-covid-19-vaccine-information/.
The updated remaining order, which goes into effect immediately and remains in place through May 31, can be found online at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/covid-19-orders-and-guidance/.