Deaths of 4 tribal members boosts Wyoming COVID-19 toll to 6

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The deaths of four Northern Arapaho tribal members have raised the number of people killed by the coronavirus in Wyoming to six.

Three of the four recent deaths were members of the same family, Northern Arapaho Business Council Co-Chairman Lee Spoonhunter told the Casper Star-Tribune on Tuesday.

The Wyoming Department of Health has not confirmed the deaths. Two other people, one each in Laramie and Johnson counties, have died of COVID-19 in Wyoming over the last several weeks.

Two of the four Northern Arapaho Tribe members who died were “precious elders,” Spoonhunter said in a Facebook live feed.

“These tribal members were our family members who were dearly loved but, because of the restrictions put in place, we cannot mourn together,” Spoonhunter said.

Spoonhunter made a plea to the tribe’s youth to help stop the spread of the virus

“Please stay home. Do not continue to be out in public places, possibly exposing yourself and your loved ones,” he said.

The Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes sharing the Wind River Reservation in central Wyoming have imposed stay-at-home orders to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Many tribal members are particularly susceptible to becoming infected because they live in crowded homes or have preexisting health problems, tribal leaders have said.

Teton County also has implemented a local stay-at-home order. Wyoming has no statewide stay-at-home order but Gov. Mark Gordon, a Republican, has ordered the shutdown of schools and many types of businesses through April 30.

Gordon also has ordered people entering the state on non-work-related business to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Wyoming as of Tuesday had over 400 confirmed and suspected cases of the coronavirus in 21 of its 23 counties. About half of those infected had recovered.

For most people, the 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. The vast majority of people recover.

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