Sweetwater COVID cases jump, tied to Taco Bell

SWEETWATER COUNTY, Wyo. — The total number of coronavirus cases in Sweetwater County has grown by five in the last 24 hours, according to the Sweetwater County District Board of Health. Currently, there are 40 total positives cases, 12 are active cases while 28 patients are fully recovered.

Since the easing of restrictions on May 1, the county has recorded 30 positive cases, compared to 11 positive cases in the first month at the height of statewide restrictions. As a reminder, one of these cases represents a non-resident who does not count in official county or state totals. To date, three patients have been hospitalized, each was treated and released and none were intubated or received extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). No county residents have died from complications related to the virus.

The latest cases are all tied to other known positives and include two children—ages 5 and 7—as well as an employee of Taco Bell in Green River. All five new patients are in good condition and isolating at home.

A source close to the business, who asked to remain anonymous as they are not authorized to speak publicly on behalf of the international franchise, said the restaurant’s Green River location was and continues to follow all state health orders and guidelines as well as recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The anonymous source also said the restaurant will be closing for two weeks out of an abundance of caution and due to personnel issues related to additional staff who are now also under quarantine orders.

Health officials believe it is unlikely that any of the restaurant’s customers are at risk as initial contact tracing efforts have not identified any customers as potential close contacts of this case.

While public health officials encourage everyone to spend time outside, to engage in meaningful social interactions with friends and family and to support local businesses, they also caution that this disease still poses a significant risk to the community and urge everyone to consider both the risk and reward when making decisions about activities.

“We know many are tired of hearing about this virus; we’re tired too. But we also have a responsibility to share with everyone what we’re seeing locally on the front lines of this pandemic,” said Sweetwater County Health Officer Dr. Jean Stachon. “We’re not trying to exaggerate the danger, but this virus clearly remains a threat. We’re not asking people to shelter in place and avoid all contact with others. We all realize at this point that’s not a practical long-term solution, especially considering our way of life around here, which is, in many ways, already conducive to social distancing. We’re only asking everyone to consider the risk levels of various activities, to evaluate what makes sense for you and your friends a family, and to take reasonable precautions. Everybody’s situation is different.”

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