Health Department to begin COVID testing of local employees

JACKSON, Wyo. — No doubt, the frontlines of fighting a pandemic, in a tourist community like Jackson Hole, are the servers, cashiers, and other service industry ‘heroes’ who interact with the multitudes of visitors from hotspots and everywhere else this time of year.

When or if the virus spreads in the valley, it is likely to take down these local businesses and their employees first.

As an attempt to learn more about the spread of infection and better able to react quickly, the Teton County Health Department is beginning surveillance testing specially designed for local businesses.

In partnership with St. John’s Health, county health officials will begin recruiting businesses for COVID-19 surveillance testing using the Curative SARS-CoV-2 assay, an oral swab that tests for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in saliva. Surveillance testing will be free and is completely voluntary.

The county hopes to randomly test up to 1,000 workers from businesses that choose to participate. Employees will only be considered if their employer enrolls in this surveillance testing program. This surveillance testing will be provided at no cost to the business or to the employees. The costs will be borne by the Wyoming Department of Health through the CARES Act.

Surveillance testing is for people without symptoms to better understand how COVID-19 is currently affecting our community.

Teton County Health director Jodie Pond stated, “Surveillance testing is a proactive tool we can use to identify people with extremely mild symptoms or those who do not have any symptoms (asymptomatic). This type of testing is an important step to keep our community and economy open to locals and visitors.”

By identifying positive cases early, the Health Department will be able to quickly conduct contact tracing and determine all close contacts.

The Teton County Health Department will begin surveillance testing with sectors that have direct interactions with visitors, provide care to vulnerable populations in the community, or work in communal living environments. The next phase of testing will focus on sectors that have direct interaction and prolonged contact with residents or work in confined quarters.

Sectors included in surveillance testing

  • Airport Agencies including TSA, Airlines, Car Rentals Agencies, etc.
  • Childcare
  • Construction Workers and Contractors
  • Driving Services
  • Faith-Based Organizations
  • First Responders
  • Grocery Stores
  • Gyms and Personal Trainers
  • Home Health Agencies
  • Hospitality
  • Personal Services: Massage Therapists, Hair Stylists, etc.
  • Postal Workers
  • Private Duty Care Agencies
  • Retail Stores
  • Restaurants or Bars
  • Schools
  • Social Service Agencies
  • Tour Operators: Wildlife, Fishing, Rafting, etc.
  • Utility Providers

To enroll in Teton County’s Surveillance testing visit the website to find more information and to download the Business Employee Contact Form. For questions about the Teton County Surveillance Testing please email Kristen Trivelli or call (307) 249-7480.

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