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Wyoming announces nine additional COVID-19 deaths
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Wyoming announces nine additional COVID-19 deaths

Virus Outbreak Scramble for Tests

FILE - This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the virus that causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. Some political leaders are hailing a potential breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19: simple pin-prick blood tests or nasal swabs that can determine within minutes if someone has, or previously had, the virus. But some scientists have challenged their accuracy. (NIAID-RML via AP)

Health officials in Wyoming reported nine additional COVID-19-related deaths on Monday — the most announced in a single day here.

The deaths include two women and three men who lived at a Big Horn County long-term care facility. In all but one of the cases, it was unclear whether those residents were hospitalized before they died.

Earlier this month, an older man in Laramie County and an older man in Platte County died from the virus, according to the Wyoming Department of Health. Both had health conditions and had been hospitalized in another state.

Last week an older Albany County man who was a resident of a local long-term care facility also died from COVID-19. The man had health conditions that put him at an increased risk of complications, though it’s unclear if he had been hospitalized prior to his death.

An older Lincoln County woman also died last week from the virus. She had been hospitalized in another state and it is unclear if she had health conditions increasing her risk for complications.

The Wyoming Department of Health has said it is not uncommon for there to be a gap between a patient’s death and the time the department is notified that they died from the virus. COVID-19 must be listed as a cause of a person’s death for the fatality to count toward the state’s coronavirus total.

The nine deaths announced Monday bring the number of Wyoming residents who have died after contracting COVID-19 to 77, according to state figures. Twenty-seven of those were announced in October, making it the deadliest month for virus infections to date. Previously, the most deaths had been reported in September with 13.

The spike in fatalities comes amid a surge in cases that began in mid-September in Wyoming.

The state has set new highs for COVID-19 hospitalizations repeatedly in the month of October and more than tripled the number of hospitalizations — from 32 on Oct. 2, to 102 on Monday.

October also marked the first time the state’s 10-day average of new confirmed cases exceeded 100 cases a day. In the first week of the month, the state was averaging about 105 cases. That average is now above 240 new cases daily.

As of Monday, there have been 9,783 confirmed coronavirus cases in Wyoming and 1,694 probable cases, according to the health department.

Photos: Wyoming Public Health Laboratory

Follow health and education reporter Morgan Hughes on Twitter @morganhwrites

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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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