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Update March 21, 2020

Governor announces that Wyoming businesses can start applying for federal disaster loans

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -  Governor Mark Gordon announced that Wyoming small businesses are now eligible to apply for up to $2 million per company in federal economic disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The announcement applies to businesses in all 23 counties.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans administered by the SBA are designed to help small businesses and private nonprofits that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19.

“I thank the SBA for giving final approval to make Wyoming businesses eligible to apply for these funds. I also thank our Congressional delegation for working to make this happen,” Governor Gordon said.

The low-interest loans provide the necessary working capital to help small businesses survive until normal operations resume after a disaster. The loan amount will be based on actual economic injury and financial needs, so small business owners are encouraged to gather items such as financial statements, tax returns and revenue projections to prepare for a loan request.

Wyoming SBA Director Amy Lea said applicants may apply for loans online at sba.gov/disaster and will be able to check their application status there as well. If an employer or employee needs assistance in preparing their application package, the Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC) can assist businesses with preparing a loan package at no charge. Their team are experts in providing virtual advising. Find your SBDC regional director at https://www.wyomingsbdc.org. Their website also has COVID-19 small business resources.

Other resources are also available to help businesses navigate this evolving situation. Regional directors at Manufacturing Works can provide technical assistance in securing supply chains. Email rcase@uwyo.edu for more information.

Wyoming Business Council regional directors can help businesses navigate assistance needs and options. Contact information can be found at https://wyomingbusiness.org/contactus.

Most importantly, we want Wyomingites to stay healthy. We encourage you to follow the CDC guidelines on sanitation and social distancing. Wyoming’s business community is resilient, and together we will help each other emerge from this challenge stronger.


Update March 19, 2020

Eighteen cases of Covid-19 have been identified in the State of Wyoming, including four in Laramie County.


Update March 18, 2020

Sixteen cases of Covid-19 have been identified in the State of Wyoming, including three in Laramie County.


Update March 17, 2020

Fifteen cases of Covid-19 have been identified in the State of Wyoming, including two in Laramie County.

Laramie County EMA has set up an email for outside organizations to request PPE. Please email emaresourcerequest@laramiecounty.com with your requests.


Update March 14, 2020

Laramie County does not have any cases at the time of this update.  Two cases of Covid-19 have been identified in the State of Wyoming.  


Update March 9, 2020

Health Recommendations Updated As Coronavirus Risk Grows

Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH, said “We have no reported cases in our state to date and that’s one of the reasons we still believe the risk within Wyoming from this virus remains low. We believe it’s likely the disease will spread to this state at some point, but do not yet know how widespread the illness will be over time after it does arrive. In Wyoming, travelers to certain locations with high numbers of reported cases and close contacts of ill people are at the highest risk.”

“There are simply some things we don’t yet fully know about COVID-19 such as how easily it spreads and how many patients may experience severe illness,” Harrist said. “However, the symptoms reported with this disease are familiar to all of us:  fever, cough and shortness of breath.”

Harrist recommended steps that can help avoid the spread of any respiratory illness, including COVID 19:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
  • Stay home if sick.
  • Cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60 percent alcohol.

“One thing we are NOT recommending is the use of facemasks as a general preventive measure,” Harrist said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend people who are well wear facemasks. Facemasks should be used by people who are ill to help prevent spread. Facemasks are also important for health workers and others taking care of infected people.

Harrist noted the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory, which is part of WDH, began COVID-19 testing last week. Some large commercial laboratories have also added COVID-19 tests to their services.

“Travel recommendations and restrictions are also important to help prevent the spread of illness,” Harrist said. The CDC currently recommends no nonessential travel to China, Iran, South Korea and Italy and no travel on cruise ships. Entry to the United States from China and Iran is also restricted.

Because they are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness, the CDC also says older adults and travelers with underlying health issues should consider avoiding situations with increased risk for transmission. Examples include avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips and avoiding crowded places.

“We are also recommending that Wyoming’s long-term care facilities such as nursing homes take steps such as screening of visitors and employees, and reviewing their illness prevention plans,” Harrist said.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold in people and others that circulate among animals.

For more information about coronavirus disease 2019 and Wyoming, visit:
https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/.

For more details about the disease and its national and international status from the CDC, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.


Wyoming is preparing for the possibility the virus spreads in the state, and we are doing everything possible to limit and slow the spread if we get cases. Our priority is keeping the people of our state safe. We are monitoring the situation in real-time and are prepared to act when we do have a known case in our community.


We are working together with state public health officials, following federal guidance, to assess and test suspected cases, identify people who may have been exposed to cases, and determine the need for monitoring, isolation, quarantine, or other restriction of movement and activities.

Multiple responses to emerging pathogens in the last few years have prepared public health to respond to situations like this. We have worked on SARS, the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, and MERS. Officials are working closely with State Health Department and organizations across the county to ensure our response is proactive, strong, and collaborative.


We have pandemic response plans ready to go, we have built tools and protocols to monitor travelers and other individuals who may be exposed, we have the infection control expertise we need, and perhaps most important, we've built strong relationships with community and healthcare partners.


About coronaviruses

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause respiratory illnesses with symptoms that include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These viruses spread through coughing or sneezing, much like the flu. Some coronaviruses are common and regularly cause illness in the U.S. in the fall and winter. Other coronaviruses, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused outbreaks internationally and have been known to cause severe illness. 
The disease caused by the new coronavirus strain, COVID-19, is being closely monitored. At this time, there are no cases in Laramie County. Wyoming has not detected any cases at this point either.  For the most up to date information about cases in Wyoming, please visit the Wyoming Department of Public Health website.


What we know

Wyoming is preparing for the possibility the virus spreads in the state, and we are doing everything possible to minimize spread if we get cases. People who are at greatest risk for getting COVID-19 are:

  • People who have recently traveled to an affected area, including areas in China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and Japan
  • Close contacts of people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19

At this time of year, there are many causes of respiratory illnesses, including the common cold and influenza. 
Like any other virus, no identity, community, ethnic, or racial group is more at risk for getting or spreading COVID-19. At this time, risk is based on recent travel to China and close contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19. 


What we don't know

We don't know how the illness will unfold in Wyoming or Laramie County, but from what we understand right now, most people are unlikely to be exposed to this virus. We don't know how severe the illness caused by this coronavirus is compared to other coronaviruses, but like other coronaviruses, it can cause pneumonia. We don't yet know exactly how or how easily the virus can spread between humans, but likely it spreads like other coronaviruses -- mostly through coughing and sneezing or close personal contact.

Please remember to wash your hands often, maintain 6 feet separation between people when possible and stay at home if you are sick.