Casper-Natrona County Health Department officials on Saturday announced three new cases of COVID-19 discovered locally, with community transmission a possibility in each case.

The new patients are a female in her forties, a male in his forties and a male in his seventies. Their exposure is currently unknown.

Health officials do not believe that the three new cases are connected to one another.

The term 'community transmission' refers to exposure and contraction of COVID-19 from somewhere within the community, but the specifics of where the exposure occurred cannot be narrowed down.

"Across the nation, community spread is responsible for increased transmission of COVID-19 within communities through common interactions," spokeswoman Haley Bloom said in Saturday's announcement. She said the health department will update the community as more information about the new cases is gathered.

While health officials have encouraged the public to take steps to prevent spread of the virus within the community, those precautions are even more important now that community spread has been identified as a possibility.

"It is just as critical now as it was a month ago that people stay the course and do not start to relax on the guidelines. We want people to be able to enjoy getting out again, but we all must do our part and follow the guidelines to keep our community safe and healthy," Natrona County Health Officer Dr. Mark Dowell said Saturday.

Precautions include frequent hand washing, using hand sanitizer when hand washing isn't available, avoiding close contact with sick people, practicing social distancing, covering the mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when around other people in public, covering coughs and sneezes, as well as cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily.

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