Public health orders being phased out, WDH says

(Wyoming Department of Health)

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) announced Friday the state has reached its final phase of statewide public health orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the immediate removal of one of the final two remaining orders.

Mask use and social distancing requirements have been eliminated for Wyoming’s colleges, according to a May 21 WDH press release. However, those requirements for K-12 schools statewide will remain in effect through May 31.

Statewide public health order #2, which affected indoor events of more than 500 people, has now been eliminated entirely.

“We are making these changes now because we are confident in the effectiveness of the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH. “We are seeing excellent results among those who have been vaccinated. The vaccines are doing their job very well.”

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WDH data shows more than 28 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, per the release.

“There is no question we would like to see a much higher coverage percentage,” Harrist said. “But adults, including college students, across our state have had ample opportunity to choose vaccination by this point.”

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The Pfizer vaccine was recently made available for 12-15 year olds in addition to anyone over 16, Harrist noted. The Moderna and Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) vaccines are authorized for use in adults 18 and over.

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 has not disappeared completely,” she said. “We continue to see confirmed cases across the state.”

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Harrist also noted that the vast majority of recent, new cases in Wyoming have involved people who were not yet fully vaccinated.

“I strongly encourage anyone who is eligible but who hasn’t yet been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible,” she said, adding that the vaccines are free, safe, and effective.

An extension of statewide public health order #1 past May 31 is not expected, the release stated.

This phasing out of public health orders comes amid a decrease in Wyoming’s active coronavirus cases. On Friday, WDH data indicated statewide cases had dropped by 86, with 66 active cases reported in Campbell County.