Public Health not asking for a mask mandate, for now

Campbell County Public Health Executive Director Jane Glaser talks about the need to get more COVID-19 immunizations at Tuesday's directors meeting at the commissions' chambers. (RJ Morgan/County 17)

With counties and school districts across the Cowboy State discussing – and in one case of enforcement in Sheridan – mask mandates, it’s quickly a becoming a local discussion and concern in Gillette.

That was the popular topic Tuesday afternoon at the director’s meeting at the county courthouse. Campbell County Public Health Executive Director Jane Glaser addressed the commissioners and directors about the COVID-19 concerns.

“I’m not seeking a mask mandate at this time, but I do think that the public needs to be better informed about true numbers and how bad this is getting,” Glaser said. “We need to reach our community and make sure they are getting the correct information and update-to-date figures so they can make the best decision for themselves.”

Glaser did share a handful of unofficial numbers with the commissioners and directors to give an idea of how bad things are getting in a short of amount of time. The most staggering is from Aug. 9 through Sept. 9 there have been 1,020 positive cases. Of that, 63 were patients who were fully vaccinated.

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“The good thing is there is a slight uptick in the number of immunizations,” Glaser noted. She said it’s slightly above the national average but that making sure the number of vaccinated continues to rise should be of upmost importance right now.

Several in attendance of the meeting asked for official numbers to be provided as soon as they are available.

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Glaser also asked the commissioners for a building that could be used as a testing facility. She said, at no cost to the county or residents, that Curative is seeking a temporary location to provide additional support for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

Curative, a healthcare startup that focuses on COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, has set up locations across the country to aid in local health departments to reach more people. Glaser said the company would like to be in place by Sept. 20 and remain here locally as long as needed, which could be months or even a year, and would bring with it well-paying temporary tester jobs.

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With more than 1,000 local positives cases in the past month, Glaser said it’s a trend that must be stopped soon.

“That’s a big a number, bigger than any one-month uptick during the height of the pandemic,” she said.

She added that those with the vaccine who get the disease, the symptoms are significantly less.

“It’s a 94-95% success rate for the those with the immunizations, but with that 5% or so who got the disease the impact is so much less.”