This graph from the Wyoming Department of Health shows COVID-19 testing numbers as well as how many tests come back positive. (Wyoming Department of Health)

As of 12 p.m., June 2, 2020 

  1. Wyoming: Confirmed cases of COVID-19: 700. Deaths: 17. Recovered: 667. Probable, untested cases: 210. 
  2. By county: Fremont County leads the state with 252 confirmed cases, followed by Laramie with 122, Teton with 69, Natrona with 65, Washakie with 32 and Sweetwater with 22. All 23 Wyoming counties have now reported at least one positive case.  
  3. Testing: 24,937 tests have been administered and processed, according to the Wyoming Department of Health
  4. United States: 1,812,125 confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins Institute. Total deaths: 105,192 — Total recoveries: 458,231.
  5. The latest: HollyFrontier Corporation’s plans to convert its Cheyenne Refinery to renewable diesel production will result in a layoff of approximately 200 employees over the next 18 months, the Cheyenne Tribune Eagle reports. Gov. Mark Gordon in a statement called it a “devastating blow” to the capital city’s economy. “This cost-saving decision is a reflection of both the changing nature of our country’s energy supply and trends that were present before the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gordon said. “It is a small consolation that Holly Frontier (sic) will continue operating in the area and will offer some employees positions in other locations.” In Fremont County, mass testing of all staff and residents of the long-term facility Wind River Rehab turned up no new positive results, according to a Fremont County Incident Command press release. The testing was conducted following a potential exposure at the facility.  
  6. More news: The nonprofit organization Community Action of Laramie County will no longer facilitate Head Start, the federal early education program for children from low-income families, the Laramie Boomerang reports. The nonprofit made the decision after learning the federal grant money it uses to pay teachers and support staff will not be renewed, and will be laying off 45 employees as part of the decision. The Cody Nite Rodeo has gotten approval to hold the event with 600 spectators, the Cody Enterprise reports. A rodeo representative said Monday the event would tentatively start June 20. 

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  1. What’s the upside to testing for COVID? You know you’re infected and that may inform you decision to engage others, or not. Does the upside outweigh the downside. For many, I doubt it. The system is designed to discourage many people from being tested. There is the expense of the test. Not everyone can get a free test. If testing positive for the virus, you are subject to arrest in many jurisdictions if you are found to be doing anything non-‘essential’. You lose the freedom to make rational decisions about your own travel. Most likely, you will be prevented from working if you’re currently employed. You can’t collect unemployment for being sick. I doubt Social Security disability benefits are available to anyone for COVID. And many employees in Wyoming, especially in the service sector, don’t have health insurance, paid sick leave, paid vacation leave, or any ability to maintain an income if they aren’t working. Many live paycheck to paycheck. Obviously, the feds handing out $1200 to everyone was meant to offset some costs but I am betting most healthy low-income people either already used it for basic living expenses or spent it on frivilous stuff and didn’t save it for an emergency 14 day quarantine. It might have been better to hand out $1200 to those who tested positive and were forced to take a 14-day unpaid vacation.

    As for the layoff of approximately 200 employees, and everyone else still collecting unemployment, Jackson has plenty of jobs and little to no housing. It says something about the design of our economy and the failure of the tourism sector to provide for Wyoming’s future. This is happening while the state is throwing a bigger bet on tourism to solve our economic troubles.