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56 Wyoming long-term care residents have died from COVID-19 since pandemic's start

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Shepherd of the Valley Rehabilitation and Wellness

The Shepherd of the Valley Rehabilitation and Wellness center in Casper is seen on Nov. 10. The long-term care facility has been the site of one of Wyoming's worst nursing home COVID-19 outbreaks.

At least fifty-six residents of long-term care facilities across Wyoming have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic emerged, 29 of whom lived in Natrona County facilities. 

Wyoming Department of Health data shows 10 residents at Casper Mountain Rehabilitation and Care Center have died from the virus. When the health department provided data on long-term care facilities to the Star-Tribune on Oct. 29, no deaths at that facility had been reported. 

Fifteen residents of Casper's Shepherd of the Valley nursing home have died. The Casper-Natrona County Health Department Nov. 6 told the Star-Tribune 14 residents had died. 

The two facilities have the two highest death tolls of any in Wyoming. 

Two residents at Mountain Plaza Assisted Living in Casper have died, and one resident each have died at Life Care Center of Casper and Garden Square Assisted Living. 

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Spokesperson for the state health department Kim Deti said via email the deaths reported are provisional. 

"Not every death listed has been confirmed through death certificate review for announcement by WDH or inclusion in the official WDH count of COVID-19 related deaths," she wrote. 

Coronavirus infections have soared statewide since late September. Cases plateaued in Wyoming in late spring before beginning a spike in mid-June. As a result, state health officials decided against their plans to eliminate almost all coronavirus restrictions.

Cases tapered off somewhat in August but surged in September to levels previously unseen in Wyoming. That trend has continued through October and into November, with the state setting new highs for cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

While Gov. Mark Gordon has said he is not considering a statewide face mask requirement, he has urged the state's residents to wear them.

The symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, fever and shortness of breath. Symptoms appear within two weeks. Health officials recommend self-isolating for two weeks if you have contact with a person who has the illness.

Follow health and education reporter Morgan Hughes on Twitter @m0rgan_hughes

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Health and education reporter

Morgan Hughes covers health and education in Wyoming. After growing up in rural Wisconsin, she graduated from Marquette University in 2018. She moved to Wyoming shortly after and covered education in Cheyenne before joining the Star-Tribune in May 2019.

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