As COVID-19 cases surge in Wyoming, the state's health officers are calling for a statewide mask mandate.

In a letter to Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon on Thursday, Wyoming's county health officers argue that a statewide mask mandate is more effective than local governments implementing a requirement.

Currently, Albany, Laramie and Teton Counties require mask usage in public places along with the Wind River Reservation.

"We understand that there is a mechanism for each county to individually mandate a mask ordinance," the state's health officers write. "However, this would take considerably more time and would likely be less consistently achieved. We feel that a statewide mask mandate sends a more powerful and effective message in a timely manner.

"With the recent dramatic increase in cases and hospitalizations, expedited implementation is paramount."

The Wyoming Medical Society and Wyoming Hospital Association have also signed onto the letter.

In the letter, the state's health county health officers cite several scientific studies conclude wearing a face-covering helps stem the spread of COVID-19.

"Our numbers have continued to increase as many have disregarded our recommendations," they write. "Education and encouragement alone have not achieved desired outcomes. Our health care resources are becoming critically strained with hospitalizations and deaths increasing."

Earlier this week, an online petition began circulating through the Cowboy State seeking a statewide mandate.

As of Thursday evening, more than 2,600 people have signed it.

In the comment section, many signatories wrote that they signed it because they work in healthcare and have seen the impacts of COVID-19 firsthand.

As of Thursday, Wyoming has reported 17,442 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. On Tuesday, the state reported more than 1,000 cases for the first time, but that number was nearly matched on Thursday when an additional 924 new cases were reported.

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