A U.S. Postal Service customer conducted her transaction through a newly erected safety barrier at the Lander Post Office on March 31. The ceiling-to-counter translucent plastic sheeting may have helped reduce the spread of contagion. It certainly helped obscure customers and postal workers from one another and create a surreal atmosphere. (Matthew Copeland / WyoFile)

At the post office in Lander, customers this week encountered a new sight: an improvised counter-to-ceiling plastic safety barrier deployed to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

From pick-up-only service at restaurants to closed campgrounds at state parks, public spaces across Wyoming are adapting to the COVID-19 outbreak. Some entities, meanwhile, are enacting stricter measures: both Jackson and the Wind River Inter-Tribal Council — representing the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation — have issued stay-at-home orders. 

Fremont County, which is home to the reservation as well as Lander, is among Wyoming’s hotspots for infections. Though limited testing capabilities have made a comprehensive picture of the outbreak difficult to pin down, county officials this week doubled down on their messaging that the outbreak is widespread and serious.  

According to the Fremont County Incident Management Team, on March 31 alone physicians directed 56 patients from Dubois, Lander, Riverton, Fort Washakie, Arapaho and Pavilion with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection to self-isolate. County healthcare providers have directed more than 600 people to self-isolate in the last two weeks. 

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Half of the state’s 16 hospitalized coronavirus patients are in Fremont County, Fremont County Public Health Officer Dr. Brian Gee said in a video, with at least five of the Fremont County patients critically ill and breathing with the assistance of ventilators.

Patients presenting with COVID-19 symptoms are young and old, Gee said — including three patients under the age of 60 who are seriously ill. Gee emphasized the need to restrict human contact. 

“Please, please, please, stay home if you are ill, isolate or quarantine as directed,” Gee said, “Do this if you are young or old, do this for yourself, for your family and for your community.”

Katie Klingsporn

Katie Klingsporn is WyoFile's managing editor. She is a journalist and word geek who has been writing about life in the West for 15 years. Her pieces have appeared in Adventure Journal, National Geographic...

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