A message from Riverton resident and parishioner, Dr. Joe Turner:
By now everyone is keenly aware of the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is no need for panic. It is still fairly unlikely that you will catch the disease, especially here in Wyoming. At the time of this writing, there are only three cases reported in Wyoming. I certainly cannot cover all the information that you need. Your best source is going to CDC.gov and on the main page there’s a link regarding COVID-19.
I believe the most important information is that the mode of transmission is person to person and requires relatively close contact, 6 feet or less. It is transmitted by tiny droplets from the sick person when they cough or sneeze. While these might be directly inhaled, the most common problem is getting these unseen droplets on your hands and then touching your face. Thus the best prevention is to wash hands frequently, especially after being in public places, and be very conscious of not touching your hands to your face. Symptoms are mostly lung based with fever, cough and shortness of breath. Wearing masks has been proven NOT effective in preventing you from getting the disease. However, if the sick person is wearing a mask, it greatly reduces transmission to others. In young healthy adults and children the illness can be relatively mild, but the most serious risk is in the elderly and in people with underlying medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease or lung disease. Our primary focus needs to be keeping these special groups protected. If you should get a fever, you should call your doctor’s office for an appointment and report your symptoms. There are special protocols in place at local clinics to handle patients who have fever, so they need to know your symptoms before you arrive. There are only 2 emergency rooms in Fremont County, so to avoid overcrowding do not go there for mild symptoms. However, if you have significant shortness of breath, call 911 or go straight to the emergency room. Also it is important to know that in Wyoming you can not just request to be tested. There are a very limited number of tests available, and you have to meet certain criteria before you can be tested. Please go to the CDC website and educate yourselves so that we as a community can decrease the impact of this disease. Again, I would like to emphasize that we need to work very hard at protecting our elderly and other people with chronic medical conditions, as these have the most severe complications.
Joseph Turner, MD