LYMAN — A questions and answer period about COVID-19 AKA the coronavirus was held at the Lyman Town Council meeting March 5.
Council Member Tansy Shelton invited employees of Uinta County Public Health to the meeting to provide information on the virus.
Kim Proffit, nurse manager with Uinta County Public Health, said the best place to go for up to date information on the coronavirus is the CDC website since the number of people affected changes everyday. She also said, currently, the risk of people in Wyoming contracting the disease is very low. However, Uinta County has been revising its infectious disease plan and working with the state. As of March 5, the state lab in Cheyenne has testing capabilities for the virus.
Shelton said she had heard the virus was mostly affecting people 70 years of age or older. Proffit responded the virus has a greater effect on the elderly or people with underlying conditions such as heart problems or severe diabetes. Shelton also asked about children being “carriers” of the disease. Proffit answered anyone could be a “carrier” because, in the majority of cases, people infected have mild-to-no-symptoms. Thus, an infected person may think he/she just has a cold and spread the disease to other individuals.
Thayne Peterson asked how people would be informed about school closures due to the virus. Profit said they would use the CodeRED program (which citizens can sign up for at uintacounty.com) as the main method to distribute information to Uinta County. She also said Uinta County Public Health would post the information on their Facebook page.
Proffit stated, at this time, risk to Uinta County citizens is so low that if someone is exhibiting symptoms; which are similar to flu or cold symptoms: cough, fever and shortness of breath, the person should treat their symptoms as a cold. The person should stay at home and not go out. He/she could also call a doctor to see if he/she should visit the doctor’s office. Doctors need permission before they can perform a coronavirus test and send it to the state lab for analysis so they cannot test everyone who thinks they might have symptoms of the virus.
Proffit also explained, if someone did test positive for the virus, the person and all members of the household would be asked to self-isolate/quarantine at home and arrangements could be made for someone to deliver supplies to the home. The household would be quarantined for two weeks. Since COVID-19 is a new virus exact incubation rates are unknown, it could be anywhere from one to 14 days with five days being typical. Thus, quarantines last for 14 days because that is the extent of time that people are seeing symptoms arise.
Precautions to avoid getting sick were also discussed.
Editor’s Note: The World Health Organization has designated this a pandemic. It further went on to explain, “Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly," Tedros said. “It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.”
The World Health Organization considers a pandemic the worldwide spread of a new disease, for which most people do not have immunity. It is estimated a vaccine to counter the effects of the virus will be available later.