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Grand Teton lifts indoor masking as Teton County COVID risk declines

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JACKSON (WNE) — Grand Teton National Park has lifted its requirement for wearing masks inside park buildings as Teton County’s risk for COVID-19 has declined.

After just one week at high risk for COVID, the county is back down to medium, based on a decrease in new COVID-positive hospital admissions.

The Teton County Health Department announced the change Friday afternoon, minutes after an emergency Nixle showed a 28.7% decrease in weekly cases. Since June 10, there have been 119 reported cases for county residents, and an additional 62 nonresident cases.

It resumed counting out-of-county visitors this week in an effort to track how tourists spread the virus.

Only a handful of people, both residents and visitors, have required hospitalization for COVID-19 in the past week.

St. John’s Health has a 7-day average of 0.43 patients with COVID in the hospital’s primary care unit and 0.14 patients with COVID in the ICU.

At medium-risk level, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying home when sick, testing when symptomatic and wearing a mask to limit exposure.

Those who test positive can call the health department’s COVID hotline at 307-732-8628.

Some individuals may qualify for free antiviral treatment, which can reduce the chances of severe illness from the virus.

Last summer, Teton County entered the high-risk level in late August and remained at that elevated level for months.

The Health Department has since changed its metrics to align with the CDC, which changed the data it tracks to determine risk level.

Now, on a weekly basis, the CDC determines countywide risk based on county-level case rates, new regional hospital admissions and the percent of inpatient beds full of COVID-19 patients.

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