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While Wyoming often prides itself on being isolated from the mainstream, it is certainly not immune to all the world health scares. There is much confusion and concern surrounding COVID-19, or the coronavirus. As the number of cases rise in the United States, it is important that we take precautions to keep ourselves and our communities safe. While each day brings updates, by taking certain steps recommended by health officials and experts to keep yourself healthy, we can slow the spread of the virus. 

First and foremost, everyone should wash their hands often. Scrubbing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is a good idea after leaving a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends avoiding close contact with others. Plan ahead and make sure you are only taking essential trips to larger public areas.

The coronavirus has made its way to Wyoming. Health officials advise that if you feel that you have become sick, the best thing to do is to stay home if possible. If you are caring for a sick loved one, it is especially important to clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs or light switches. 

Earlier this month, Congress passed more than $8 billion in funding to aid the fight against the coronavirus. It provides $7.76 billion for testing individuals with symptoms and for agencies combating the coronavirus. It also includes another $500 million to allow Medicare to expand the use of telemedicine during the outbreak. As part of this funding bill, Wyoming received $4.57 million for state and local public health responses to the coronavirus. I will continue to work with my colleagues and the administration to respond to this crisis.

According to the CDC, a good way to prevent an illness is to avoid high-risk environments, even if you are not showing symptoms. We must take it upon ourselves, following cautionary steps, to slow the spread of this virus within our communities. If you have questions regarding the coronavirus, I encourage you to contact the Wyoming Department of Health at wdh.covid19@wyo.gov