COVID-19 questions answered by the Fremont County Incident Management Team

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On Friday, March 27th, County 10 was part of a press conference with Fremont County Public Health Officer Dr. Brian Gee. Before the conference, we asked what you, the community, would like to know about local COVID-19 cases. Unable to get them answered during the press conference, Dr. Gee and the Fremont County Incident Management Team (FCIMT) answered the questions and sent them back to County 10 this afternoon.

Below are the questions we received with answers Dr. Gee and the team could provide at this time. Apologies in advance, there is a strong possibility that we missed a few questions. This was on the fly in hopes of getting the information you want to know.


Questions and answers (bulleted):

Is there documentation on the actual accuracy of the COVID-19 test? My research shows evidence that the test is less than 50% accurate. Which could mean that quite a few of those tested who received a positive result are actually not infected?

  • The test accuracy is not precisely known. Oral swabs done correctly are close to 90% reliable that positives are truly positive. Negative results may be less reliable.

How many locals have been tested and how many have been positive?

How long does the virus live on various surfaces? Folks keep spreading false information. And then tell us, test proven, which products (tea tree oil, bleach, isopropyl alcohol, etc) will ‘render harmless’ the virus on those surfaces.

  • 3 days (72 hours)

How many have been asked quarantine due to calling in with symptoms, but cannot be tested because they are not high risk or in medical distress (high fever, short of breath)?

  • Doctors locally have directed over 400 people to self-isolate based on the symptoms they are presenting at clinics. Self-isolate is different that quarantine. Quarantine is established by Public health and puts requirements on that can be enforced. Self-isolation is guidance to stay home, social distance and keep in touch with public health to monitor symptoms.

Has Fremont County received adequate tests?

  • Yes, we now have more tests, and are testing more people, but continue to follow state criteria for testing which contain some restrictions.

Are the local hospitals going to acquire ventilators?

  • There are enough ventilators in the county at this time. There are currently no more ventilators available or for sale anywhere in the country, but the President has ordered more to be manufactured.

What is the plan for patients requiring ICU care, for example, are they going to Casper or Billings.

  • We have ICU beds in both Lander and Riverton, and both are currently adequately staffed. The hospitals continue to transfer patients to higher levels of care when it is needed and appropriate.

What is the hospital’s capacity to care for ICU patients?

  • That is changing. SageWest extended that number by adding beds that were used as ICU before. Not sure of the total number.

With tests so tightly limited, is there any way to estimate how many % asymptomatic carriers are in the population and how long an asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic person is contagious?

  • Not without more tests. Other tests that may help are being developed but not yet available. Studies suggest infected people may continue to shed viruses for several weeks. This is being further studied as we learn more about the infection.

Out of those testing positive, how many have required hospitalization?

  • We have 9 total.

How many have recovered?

  • 4

Of the people testing negative, how many are still requiring continued medical care?

  • Unknown

How many people are in quarantine right now?

  • 8 confirmed cases in the hospital, 1 was transferred. We have more in isolation in the hospital but not sure of the number.

How widespread is this in Fremont County?

  • We have information from the doctors in Fremont County that they are telling people in every community to self-isolate based on symptoms.

If the president lifts the restrictions what is the best advice for those who are in the “at-risk” group? Even if the restrictions are gone COVID 19, SARS-2 will still be here and there is a large population in Fremont county of “at-risk” people.

  • Restrictions are not likely to be lifted soon. We should continue to practice consistent Social Distancing, remaining 6 feet apart, less than 10 people in groups, and wash hands frequently.

Does Advil ibuprofen make things worse? Heard it complicates it.

  • Remains controversial but experts are leaning away from using anti-inflammatory medications like Motrin and Alleve and using Acetomenophen instead.

I see videos of foreign governments disinfecting streets, front doors and sewers around town in China. When the person gets Covid19 are we doing anything similar like disinfecting the areas around their house, car etc.? Or is that responsibility of the person that got sick, like them asking their family member?

  • Cleaning household and frequently touched surfaces with a disinfectant is strongly recommended, as is using their own eating utensils and their own bathroom. There are no current recommendations for spraying outside residential dwellings or neighborhoods.

Some essential workers come home from work, take their clothes off and wash them immediately, and shower before relaxing and seeing family. Is this recommended for all of us?

  • An abundance of caution will not hurt, but is not currently routinely recommended except in areas of high disease activity or when working in possibly high exposure environments.

Best case scenario timeline for a return to “normal”….gradual lifting of each stage of restrictions to resume previous work/home routines? I understand we will need to continue social distancing, handwashing, etc. for the foreseeable future, but it’d be great if schools and businesses could resume regular hours. I think the school districts are doing the best they can but at some point, we’re going to have to resume typical routines.

  • Unfortunately, this is difficult to predict, and will be guided by the community experience with the disease curve and whether we succeed in preventing further spread.

If I feel sick should I get a test or wait until it gets worse?

  • Call your medical provider or Public Health at (307) 357-3677 or (307) 856 6979 for advice that fits your circumstances.

How likely are we to actually get it from our pet’s coats, leashes, fur, etc?

  • Unlikely, but experts recommend avoiding much contact with your pets if you become ill.

How many people have you actually tested for the flu and strep and they have come back negative so you have sent them home to self-quarantine? I want to know the number of people who have not been tested but probably have it.

  • Local providers are no longer testing for flu due to low cases. If symptoms appear, the assumption is that it is COVID-19.

I went to the doctor and they don’t have enough tests to test me, I am having all the symptoms. How can we report positive or negative cases when we can’t tests?

  • People with flu-like symptoms in Fremont County now probably have the COVID-19 infection. All clinics and hospitals are reporting the number of these cases to Fremont County Public Health on a daily basis. The information is analyzed to look for specific neighborhoods more heavily affected, and to look for changes in the numbers of cases to help determine or when restrictions may be relaxed.

The Fremont County Incident Management Team is in the process of creating a website where you can submit your questions to be answered. County 10 will share that information as soon as it is available.

All the information from the team including a video of the press conference can be found by clicking here.