The number of lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 passed the 1,000 mark on Wednesday, and the Wyoming Department of Health again reminded people to take precautions to limit the coronavirus.

“We expected to see more cases over time and believe we are in a better position to respond now than earlier,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist.

“However, this virus has shown us simple actions and choices that might not seem like a big deal at the time can harm others and quickly change the disease picture within a community," Harrist said in a prepared statement. "That’s why we need people to be mindful of what they can do to slow the spread of the virus.”

The number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases now stands at 1,016, plus 266 probable cases, 765 recovered cases, and 20 deaths.

In Natrona County, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 87 with 15 probable cases.

Statewide, Fremont County had the most cases at 301, followed by Laramie County at 140, then Uinta County at 124.

As of Monday, the state health laboratory had completed 20,184 tests, and commercial labs had completed 18,976 tests.

Harrist said experts have learned more over the last several months about COVID-19, which is still a relatively new virus.

“We now know some individuals can transmit the virus to others before they feel or show any symptoms,"  Harrist said. "This is very important because it means people can spread the virus to other people without realizing they are infected."

The virus spreads mainly among people when they are close to each other, she said. "When an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, the tiny respiratory droplets they produce can spread through the air to people who are nearby, typically within 6 feet.”

People with symptoms possibly consistent with COVID-19 should stay home from work and stay away from others unless medical care is needed, Harrist said.

The Wyoming Department of Health has seen examples of people spreading the virus among coworkers, and that can devastate a business, she said.

The department again recommends social distancing, and wear cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing is not possible or reasonable.

Cloth face coverings can bought, made or adapted from common items. They should not be placed on children younger than 2, nor anyone with trouble breathing nor anyone who can’t take the covering off without help.

Harrist also asked people to respect directions such as isolation or quarantining they may receive if told they have been exposed to the virus.

Isolation orders are generally issued for people who are known to have a disease, while quarantine orders are intended for people who have been potentially exposed to a disease as close contacts.

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.

Older residents and people with certain health conditions have a higher risk of developing more serious or life-threatening complications.

For more information, visit the department's website.

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