From Wyoming News Exchange newspapers

Wyoming officials on Friday extended for two weeks the public health orders closing some businesses and putting limits on gatherings as the state's total number of coronavirus cases grew to 73.

Gov. Mark Gordon and Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state's health officer, announced the three orders would remain in place until April 17.

Orignally set to end on April 3, the orders closed schools and businesses where 10 or more people are likely to gather such as bars, health clubs and theaters, closed personal service businesses such as hair salons and tattoo parlors and prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people.

Gordon cited the spread of the virus into more than half of Wyoming's counties as the reason for the extension.

"Because we've seen cases identified in additional counties and growth in the case numbers, it's clear how important it is for us to take sustained action," he said in a news release. "I understand the ongoing strain that these measures are having on businesses, workers and Wyoming communities. But it is imperative that our citizens respond to this public health crisis by staying home whenever possible and practicing proper social distancing when they must go out."

Harrist said limiting contact between people is the best tool available for slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The state said restaurants will be allowed to remain open for curbside takeout or delivery service.

The announcement came in the wake of the news that 17 new coronavirus cases had been diagnosed in seven counties on Friday.

Among the new cases was Goshen County's first.

The Health Department reported four new cases in Teton County, three new cases in Laramie, Johnson, and Fremont counties, two new cases in Natrona County and one new case in Goshen and Sheridan counties.

Hot Springs County officials reported one patient from Washakie County staying at the county's hospital in Thermopolis had been diagnosed with the virus. The Health Department listed the case as occurring in Washakie County.

Friday's tally means more than half of Wyoming's counties have reported at last one coronavirus case.

Fremont and Laramie counties both have 17 cases. Teton County has 10, Natrona County has eight, Sheridan County has five, Johnson County has four, Carbon County has three and Albany, Campbell, Goshen, Park, Sweetwater and Washakie counties each have one.

An earlier analysis of cases by the Department of Health showed that a large majority of Wyoming's coronavirus cases have not resulted in hospitalization.

An analysis of 55 of cases conducted by the Health Department showed that most, 38, did not result in hospitalization.

The analysis also showed that the highest number of virus cases, 19, was found among those age 60 to 69. The next highest incidence of the virus was found in those age 50 to 59, with 11 cases.

Only one case each had been detected among those age 18 and under or age 80 and over.

Most of the cases, 33, were found in women.

The cause for the highest number of cases, 23, was identified as contact with another person who had the virus. However, in 18 cases, no cause has been determined.

The state Health Department also announced on Thursday that 17 of the state's coronavirus patients have recovered.

Information on where those recoveries occurred was not available from the Health Department, however, Albany County health officials reported that the one coronavirus patient identified in the county had already recovered from the illness after self-isolation.

In Sheridan County, health officials reported four of the people diagnosed with the illness have recovered.

State officials have advised Wyoming residents repeatedly that the number of cases in the state will increase as more coronavirus testing is completed. As of 5 pm. Friday, the Health Department reported that almost 1,400 tests had been completed, 1,041 at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory and 353 by private commercial laboratories.

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