Contagion: Wyoming has a plan for the coronavirus

JACKSON, Wyo. — Does Wyoming have a plan for COVID-19? As a matter of fact, it does, and it was just updated last June.

Wyoming’s pandemic response plan for the COVID-19 outbreak is outlined in an 80-page document titled, “Pandemic Influenza Response Plan.”

The plan gives broad powers to State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist, including canceling funerals for the dead and how the bodies will be disposed of. Harrist also has the power to make vaccinations mandatory and can enforce quarantines of those who do not wish to be isolated.

Many decisions will be left to local authorities including school closures. School Districts will likely act only after consulting with Harrist, local health departments, and Jillien Balow, state superintendent of public instruction.

“For these closures to be effective they must be implemented early in a pandemic (before widespread transmission) and be maintained throughout the entire time the pandemic virus is circulating in a community,” the plan states. “This will likely be 1-2 months at a time for each pandemic wave, and possibly for two or three separate waves.”

With just one week remaining before a two-week spring break for Teton County students, how long before word comes down that students and faculty will be getting three weeks off this spring?

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