TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT

Wyoming’s Covid-19 numbers are on the rise.

Recently vacated quarantine housing at the University of Wyoming.

Rachel Bozell

Recently vacated quarantine housing at the University of Wyoming.

The Novel Coronavirus. Covid-19. The ‘rona. The second coming of the Black Death. Whatever you choose to call it, 2020’s biggest star has finally made its way to Wyoming, and it isn’t pulling its punches anymore. 

Until recently, Wyoming has enjoyed a fairly low rate of Covid cases, due in large part to its low population density. School is back in session now, though, which means close encounters with others are an inevitability. 

And where there’s smoke, it would seem, there’s fire. A big one, if spiking case numbers at the University of Wyoming are to be believed. Albany, home of the Pokes, has more cases than any other county in the state, with 195 out of the 1,278 cases confirmed this week. 

However, the greatest danger of attending UW during the pandemic isn’t the obvious close contact, but rather the mishandling of potential cases by administration.

“My Covid experience has been interesting to say the least,” said Rachel Bozell, a PHS graduate and current student at UW. She and her boyfriend had been experiencing similar Covid-indicative symptoms, and when he tested positive, Bozell decided to take a test as well.

“I sent an email to the Covid hotline,” said Bozell, “and I didn’t get a response. So I waited until they were open . . . at least a full 36 hours later. I have not been told to do anything by University officials, except for my RA, who told me to isolate. And so I called on Monday morning. Covid hotline didn’t answer.” 

Bozell initially tested negative for the virus, but the similar symptoms she shared with her boyfriend, with whom she spent ample time before their isolation, motivated her to take a second test, which came back positive.

The university allowing Bozell to isolate at her own discretion is unsettling, seeing as not everyone seems inclined to do so. 

It’s no secret that a number of Wyoming residents don’t think of Covid as a serious threat; according to a study done by the University of Wyoming, state residents who perceive the virus to be a threat have dropped by nearly 20% since March, from 64% to 45%, a downward slope that doesn’t make sense considering the skyrocketing numbers.

With confirmed cases continuing to climb, the thought of every exposed person being allowed to wander free in such an infection-conducive environment is unsettling, and will likely contribute to an even larger boom in cases going forward.

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