Gillette Lawmaker Calls On Governor To Re-Open Schools, Businesses
A Gillette lawmaker in an open letter to Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon on Tuesday called for the state to reopen its schools and businesses amid the coronavirus.
Republican State Representative Scott Clem said while he understands the logic behind self-isolation and quarantines to "flatten the curve," only 10 to 20% of those infected with COVID-19 require advanced medical care.
As of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, there are 130 reported cases of COVID-19 in Wyoming.
"While we do not want to lose one life to this disease, we must consider that lives are also damaged or even lost by our present efforts to slow the spread," Clem wrote. "While it may not be possible to quantify, it is conclusive that forced business closures and self-isolation will result in permanently lost jobs, bankruptcies, suicides, increased mental health conditions, increased crime, loss of liberty, a decrease in government revenues, an increase in the utilization of government resources and in an increase in domestic disputes among others."
Last week, Gordon extended closures through at least April 17. On Sunday, President Donald Trump extended similar recommendations through April 30.
During a press conference Monday, Wyoming Medical Society President David Wheeler said the organization supports measures at any level to encourage residents to stay on their homes to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus.
Wheeler, echoing the medical community, said not taking steps to control the virus would quickly overwhelm Wyoming's medical system.
"If we wait until people show up in our emergency rooms gasping for air, we have waited too long," Wheeler said.
But Clem suggested that the state begin bolstering medical resources. That could include funding for additional field hospitals, purchasing medical equipment and personal protective equipment all while it reopened public facilities.
It's unsure if the state could begin purchasing additional medical equipment, as there is currently a nationwide shortage of some medical equipment. Wheeler asked doctors to cease conducting elective medical procedures as they waste precious personal protective equipment. Last week, Wyoming Medical Center put out a call for area volunteers to begin sewing gowns and face masks to serve as protective equipment.