Natrona County EOC announces expansion of coronavirus testing

The joint operations center for Natrona County tasked with response to the global COVID-19 pandemic has announced the expansion of testing in the county.

Officials report that a combined effort between multiple agencies has successfully secured over 2,000 test kits for residents of Natrona County.

The Natrona County Emergency Operations Center says that they and the Wyoming Department of Health Public Health Laboratory have equipped the Casper-Natrona County Health Department and Wyoming Medical Center with the ability to largely increase testing.

“The Natrona County Emergency Operations Center has been working diligently to increase capacity for testing within Natrona County,” said an EOC statement Monday afternoon. The major limitation to testing in our community has been the very small number of testing supplies available. This ultimately forced providers to prioritize who received a test.”

Previously, testing in Natrona County was prioritized for individuals with known COVID-19 symptoms such as cough, fever and shortness of breath as well as for those who were older in age, had known underlying health conditions, healthcare workers and first responders.

“According to health experts, to better understand the level of COVID-19 in a community, testing must be widely increased. There is substantial evidence showing that individuals may be asymptomatic, meaning they feel completely normal and have minimal to no symptoms, but still be contagious with COVID-19,” the EOC statement says. “Our Natrona County Health Officers believe increased testing for those with minimal signs or symptoms is crucial to gaining the data necessary to begin opening our community.”

Beginning Monday, April 27, both Natrona County testing facilities will be accepting a wider range of individuals to be tested for COVID-19.

Instead of limiting testing to those who meet both requirements of being in a priority group and displaying symptoms, testing is now available to anyone displaying known COVID-19 symptoms.

“Our goal is to continue to increase testing for COVID-19. We hope this additional, crucial information, will allow us to have the baseline data necessary to better understand the spread of this virus in our community,” the EOC said.

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