A Torrington woman who works at the St. Joseph’s Children’s Home is the first person to have contracted COVID-19 in Goshen County.
According to the Wyoming Health Department’s website, there is one case in the county. Eight tests have been submitted to the state’s public health lab and three are pending results.
In a Facebook post, Jennifer Childs confirmed that she had been notified by her doctor that she had the coronavirus: “Well, for everyone asking, ‘Does anyone know anyone who has been tested or who has coronavirus?’ You do now. I got tested Wednesday, received a call from the doctor last night at 11 p.m., (I was sleeping), they called me again at 7:30 a.m. to notify me that my lab results were positive for COVID-19. Staying home in quarantine for two weeks.”
Heather Saul, emergency response coordinator for Goshen County Health, said the woman will be interviewed to determine the persons she may have been in close contact with and potential locations where she may have been in public. The Star-Herald will update this story when that information is released.
Saul said, “What Jennifer did was a good thing letting people know ... but in a way it goes 50/50, because it’s good she acknowledged she tested positive, but in other ways people are going to panic and go overboard again,” Saul said. “I know St. Joe’s is monitoring and has been training for the last three weeks. They are on top of it.”
She said that St. Joseph’s staff have been taking temperatures, asking questions for monitoring and other steps over the last three weeks as part of their precaution and preventative efforts.
Saul urged people to just use common sense. She is reminding people who believe that they have symptoms of the coronavirus, such as fever, coughing or flu-like symptoms, to contact their health care provider. People are discouraged from walking into their doctor’s office or an emergency room without first calling ahead.
“We are hopeful that this individual will make a fast and full recovery, and our first priorities will be to ensure they receive the care needed, to monitor close contacts for symptoms, and to work closely with this individual to identify and evaluate other individuals who may have had exposure.
“With it being the novel coronavirus, a lot is unknown so we need to minimize exposure,” Saul told the Star-Herald.
A call into St. Joseph’s Children’s Home has not been returned, as of writing this, and Child’s said she will allow an interview Saturday, as she was exhausted after hearing the news this morning.
In Wyoming, 13 counties have confirmed coronavirus tests, with Fremont County having the most confirmed cases.
Just across the border, Scotts Bluff County and the 10 other counties of the Panhandle have yet to have a diagosed coronavirus case. Panhandle Public Health District is reminding people not to travel out-of-state or even out of the Panhandle.
Kim Engel, PPHD director, said in a press release Friday, “As positive cases are getting closer and closer to the Panhandle, we need to take an additional step in our efforts to flatten the curve.
She recommended people follow these steps to flatten the curve:
— Practice strict social distancing – 6 feet between people
— Follow the 10 person limit for groups
— Follow travel guidelines to self-quarantine upon returning from travel outside the Panhandle
— Stay home when you begin showing early signs of being sick
— Be prepared to recall your whereabouts for the past 14 days
To limit spread in Nebraska, all travelers should self-quarantine for 14 days upon returning home and immediately report any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection to their health care provider. This means that if they traveled out of the Panhandle, they would be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon returning to the Panhandle with these exceptions:
— Residents who support the critical infrastructure of our community, like truckers, are encouraged to continue to provide their vital services. When they are back in the Panhandle, they are encouraged to stay at their house (self-quarantine).
— Traveling to and from work is understandable; the idea is to stay in the same community and practice strict social distancing.
— Health care workers have different guidelines and should consult with a trained medical professional at their facility (infection preventionists or physician) and establish a specific infection control protocol that mitigates patient and co-worker exposures.
The CDC is putting out updated guidance daily; for the most up to date information visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. To learn more about COVID-19, go to https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.