CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The first outbreak of the coronavirus at a nursing home in Wyoming has infected at least nine people, the Wyoming Department of Health said Sunday.
So far, five employees and four residents at the Worland Healthcare and Rehabilitation have been found to have COVID-19, with most of the cases confirmed through laboratory testing.
More test results were pending, but officials believe all the residents and employees at the facility have been tested, department spokeswoman Kim Deti said. No one has died, she said.
The testing began after staff members became sick and sought medical care. But it is not clear how the virus was introduced into the facility, the department said in a press release. State health department staff will likely visit the facility to review the situation, interview patients and staff and to conduct more testing.
Visitors and non-essential workers are limited in Wyoming’s nursing homes because of the pandemic.
“We believe this policy has been helpful in Wyoming over the last couple of months, but, the risk of potential exposure through staff and patients still exists,” Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist said in the announcement of the cases.
There was an outbreak at an assisted living facility in Lander in March. But there has not previously been one at a nursing home, where patients are more medically fragile and receive more care, Deti said.
The virus is blamed for killing eight people in Wyoming, most recently an older hospitalized woman from Fremont County who had underlying health problems whose death was announced Saturday.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.