Roughly 265 staff members
and residents at a Casper longterm care facility
will be tested and quarantined after a
case of the coronavirus was confirmed there,
health officials said Thursday.
The contagious nature of COVID-19 and
the high-risk setting prompted the testing of
all staff and residents as soon as possible, the
Casper-Natrona County Health Department
said in a statement.
That testing was performed Thursday.
The announcement did not name the facility.
However, the Wyoming Department of
Health identified it as Life Care Center of
Casper. The center’s director, Tess Bailey,
later confirmed that a resident at the facility
did test positive for COVID-19 and is now
receiving care at a local hospital.
On Wednesday night, the Casper-Natrona
County Health Department learned that the
resident had tested positive. That person was
tested after exhibiting symptoms, the health
It’s unclear where that resident was originally
exposed to the virus. The department
did not offer details about the person who
was infected, other than to clarify that the
resident was a previously identified case.
COVID-19 spreads easily and is of particular
concern to health officials when it’s
found in a nursing home or other long-term
care facility, where older residents live in
close quarters. Older people are also more
likely to develop severe symptoms from the
On Thursday, the state announced the
death of a COVID-19 patient at a Washakie
County nursing home that’s experiencing a
The county health department is relying
heavily on its partnership with Wyoming
Medical Center, the state’s largest hospital,
to conduct so many tests at once, said Hailey
Bloom, the agency’s spokeswoman.
“They offered us three testing sites, plus
testing at our facility,” Bloom said. “Without
that, it would be a logistical nightmare.”
Bloom said the residents are quarantining
at the facility itself.
Given that some staff members are needed
for the center to remain open, the Wyoming
Health Department has permitted asymptomatic
staff members to continue working.
However, those workers would only be allowed
to leave their homes to work, Bloom
“Due to the large number of staff members
required to quarantine, these individuals
who are asymptomatic but awaiting test
results will be allowed to work only with
appropriate personal protective equipment
to ensure residents receive continued and required
care,” the Health Department said in
Bailey confirmed in a Thursday evening
statement that all staff and residents had been
tested. If a resident tests positive, he or she
will be placed in isolation within the building,
she explained. Staff will recover at home
and only return to work when they meet
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
“Our primary concern is for the health
and safety of our residents, nursing staff and
other care providers,” Bailey said. “They are
on the front line of this unprecedented outbreak.
Our staff is trained in proper use of
PPEs and are following all relevant guidelines
in infection control. They are putting in
heroic efforts to ensure that our patients are
receiving excellent care.”
Bailey said the center would stay in regular
contact with families and, since visitation
remains restricted, would coordinate calls,
video chats and window visits.
The positive case at Life Care comes amid
a resurgence in cases in Natrona County,
with 17 in the past nine days. Prior to that, the
county had gone three weeks without a case.
Two confirmed cases were reported
Thursday, including a man in his 70s and a
woman in her 30s. On Wednesday, health
officials here closed a local day-care facility
after a child tested positive for COVID-19.
In that instance, 32 staff and children were
tested and a total of 58 people were told to
quarantine. Bloom said the results of the tests
from the child-care and long-term care facilities
could be ready in as soon as 24 hours but
might take longer.
“The (Wyoming) Department of Health is
prioritizing both of these tests,” Bloom said.
“They know this is an urgent situation and
they know we need to get these results as
quickly as we can.”
Also on Wednesday, the state announced
a new testing program to address outbreaks at
long-term care facilities. As part of that program,
all staff and residents at facilities with
identified cases will have to be tested weekly
until the ongoing outbreak disappears.
“Staff from our department are helping
with the overall situation in Casper through
consultation and support for contract tracing,
as well as prioritized testing at the Wyoming
Public Health Laboratory,” said Wyoming
Department of Health spokeswoman Kim
Two outbreaks have already occurred at
long-term care facilities in Wyoming.
Over the weekend, the state announced
that five staff members and four residents
at Worland Healthcare Rehabilitation Center
tested positive for COVID-19. The latest
person in Wyoming to die after contracting
coronavirus, an older man who lived at the
center, was announced Thursday.
The other outbreak occurred in March at
the Showboat Retirement Center in Lander.
In that instance, 16 people were sickened.
Additionally, 22 cases have been linked
to Wyoming Behavioral Institute in Casper.
To date, Wyoming has recorded more
than 600 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
with nearly 200 additional probable cases,
according to the health department. Twelve
residents have died after contracting COVID-
To limit the virus’ spread, Gov. Mark
Gordon and State Health Officer Dr. Alexia
Harrist in March ordered the closure of
schools and many businesses where people
congregate, including bars, gyms and hair
Gyms and personal care establishments
were able to reopen with some restrictions
May 1. The state has also allowed restaurants
to open again – with conditions.
And on May 15, the state allowed an order
limiting public gatherings to 10 people or
less was allowed to expire in favor of one
setting the limit at 25.