State shatters COVID-19 case record

CASPER — Wyoming reported 1,875 COVID-19 cases on Friday, breaking the state’s single-day record. The previous record occurred on Wednesday, when the state recorded 1,592 laboratory-confirmed and probable cases. 

The new record, and the earlier one set this week, are due to the omicron variant, which is considerably more contagious than earlier strains of the coronavirus. 

Given omicron’s spread, Wyoming is likely to break additional records in the days and weeks ahead, said Wyoming Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti. 

“We may see some pretty high numbers coming up,” she said. 

Omicron is now the dominant variant of COVID-19 in Wyoming. It’s accounting for nearly 100% of new cases in Wyoming, Deti said. 

“There hasn’t been a delta case in a few weeks now,” she said, referring to what had been the virus’ dominant strain until recently. 

Omicron has proved so far to produce massive surges in cases. But those surges, based on the experiences of other states and countries, tend to be dramatic in both directions: jumping up and then falling quickly. 

Hospital officials in Wyoming have said the peak here may still be a few weeks away. 

Hospitalizations have jumped of late in Wyoming after falling in November and December. 

As of Thursday, the state’s hospitals were treating 104 COVID-19 cases, an 86% increase compared with the beginning of the month. 

But it’s too soon to know exactly what omicron will mean for hospitalizations and deaths here, Deti said. Changes in hospitalizations tend to follow cases by a few weeks. Deaths, in turn, trail hospitalizations. 

“We don’t know what the full impact will be,” she said. 

The majority of the sickest patients in hospitals continue to be those who are not vaccinated against COVID-19. Even when someone who is inoculated becomes infected, the vaccine provides protection against serious illness or death. 

Three studies released Friday offered more evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are standing up to the omicron variant, at least among people who received booster shots, the Associated Press reported. 

Wyoming remains one of the nation’s most vaccine-hesitant states. Less than half of the Equality State’s residents are fully vaccinated, figures show.