WMC Chief of Staff concerned with rise in local COVID-19 cases

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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - As Natrona County and Wyoming COVID-19 confirmed cases continue to rise, Wyoming Medical Center has been busy. WMC's Chief of Staff, Dr. Andy Dunn, said though he believes WMC is prepared for a potential surge, he hopes the community can do better.

The view of Wyoming Medical Center from 2nd St Monday afternoon.

Natrona County and the Cowboy State are not as populated as many areas around the country. So a couple new COVID-19 cases a day may not sound like a lot, but it is significant.

"Three or four is quite significant especially the way we're seeing distribution, meaning it's community spread as opposed to cluster outbreaks," said Dunn.

Dunn said it's easier to find the source from cluster outbreaks, by using contact tracing and isolation. Finding the source from community spread cases is not as easy. Dunn said part of the new cases are from people enjoying summer activities and the new cases are a wake up call.

"What we do now helps us two, three, four weeks down the road. Everyone needs to hold themselves accountable. This has to be a boring summer, it just has to be for the betterment of your grandparents, of your mom, dad, of someone's kids, of those that have a health condition such as diabetes, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), cancer," said Dunn.

Dunn said the community is getting to the point where it just doesn't care anymore, which is a dangerous way to think. As the Fourth of July approaches, he encourages the community to put on a mask.

"It's not a violation of your constitutional rights. You could say the same thing for driving drunk, we don't drive drunk because you could kill somebody. We wanna wear a mask so we don't kill somebody. So if you're not worried about yourself that's fine, but worry about others around you and wear a mask," said Dunn.

Dunn said if we want to keep Casper and Natrona County open and vibrant, the community has to do their part including wearing a mask and social distancing.

WMC also wants the community to know where they can go to get tested for COVID-19.

Urgent Care East, Sage Primary Care, Mesa Primary Care and the Casper-Natrona County Health Department are offering COVID-19 testing. If you are experiencing symptoms, do not walk into the clinics, call the number on the outside of the building.

Dunn said the rise in cases is not due to increased testing, and to him, that should not be an argument.

"We don't want to test if we don't have to and that's the whole thing. We don't have the resources that South Korea and other places have that you can have testing at every corner. So people that come in qualify for testing per our algorithm. So that means by definition, people are more sick or exposed to more positives," said Dunn.