RS Mayor provides COVID-19 update at council meeting

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City Council met Tuesday to discuss the current situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Wyo4News Photo

ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING (March 17, 2020) — Rock Springs Mayor Tim Kaumo provided a brief update on the state of COVID-19 in the county and what both Rock Springs and Green River have planned to address the issue.

“Our goal is to delay the spread of the virus as early as possible,” said Mayor Kaumo. “We have a chance to protect more people effectively and not overwhelm our hospitals and clinics. There are a limited number of hospital beds, doctors and nurses as well as equipment and supplies for those that do have the virus and will need attention. We hope to reduce the burden on medical staff and facilities and lower the possibility of spreading the virus. Without these measures in place I think we will see a significant increase in cases here in Sweetwater County. These measures are not taken because of panic, they are being taken as a precaution in hopes of preventing panic. Everyone must do their part to ensure the best outcome for this situation in our community.”

“There is a plan in place,” said the Mayor. “The City of Rock Springs, Green River, and county continue to address new developments and adjust as needed to ensure the highest level of precautions are being taken. We have ongoing communications with the Wyoming Department of Health, Center for Disease Control, Sweetwater County Public Health, Emergency Management, as well as Memorial Hospital to ensure everyone is on the same page and we have the most current information available. Again, we can make adjustments as needed based on new information. At my direction, Chief Wamsley and Chief Pacheco have been in contact with our counterparts in Green River and in Sweetwater County to establish a task force to help provide information about the current state of affairs in our local communities, as it relates to the aspect of gathering and sharing information.”

 

 

“As you can imagine, there is a swamp of information coming out of every aspect of the current coronavirus pandemic, and wading through it is challenging at best. To that end, we have implimented a process of establishing a unified command between representatives from the two cities, and the county, to gather information, verify information, and also prepare briefings to be presented to public officials and to the public as well. We believe this process will result in the ability to keep our elected officials and residents informed. We have decided to meet at least twice a day to review the various information sources and brief the group, which will allow input and questions. Following that briefing, we will push this information out through several means. We are working on a specific webpage to share information as well as a 311 call line. To gather that information we have assigned an operations chief, which will be Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Fisher.”

“Currently, if you have questions about COVID-19 call your health care provider or call Memorial Hospital. Do not call the emergency room directly. At the same time, our assigned public information officers will be helping to gather messages as well as information. We will be holding meetings at 9 A.M. and 4 P.M. each day to gather information and distribute it to local officials and the public. We are using the combined public information resources of the three entities. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your unified task force command. Rock Springs, the primary will be Chief Wamsley, and Chief Pacheco. In Green River, the primary will be Chief Jarvie, Deputy Assistant Chief Larry Erdmann, Sweetwater County primary will be Sheriff Grossnickle. And as always feel free to contact the Mayor’s office in Rock Springs.”

The Mayor also laid out a number of steps for everyone to continue to take. These steps include:

  • Avoid contact with ill people whenever possible.
  • If sick, limit your contact with others.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects which may be contaminated.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.

The Mayor also discussed the state of current food supplies and purchases.

 

“I’ve had numerous conversations with our grocery suppliers who have been inundated with people hoarding food and panic buying items in case of being quarantined. I have asked that items such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, baby formula, water and other items to be limited to each individual in hopes of allowing these items to be shared throughout the community. We are one community, and we are show our compassion in times such as this. We should consider the needs of everyone and not just ourselves. There are many seniors and families with small children that struggle to find basic needs to satisfy their needs, please think about what you are doing, and allow common sense to prevail.”

“A few of the grocery stores have specified certain times in the morning for just seniors to shop. Information regarding individuals purchasing large quantities of items only to resell them at higher cost and take advantage of our citizens are concerning, and will not be tolerated. This is a time to show compassion, check on your neighbors, and seniors. Remember the ‘Golden Rule’, treat others the way you want to be treated. We are not wolves, and we are not in a panic mode. If everyone would just do their normal shopping and purchase their normal quantities to get by for a couple of weeks we will not disrupt the chain of supply and normal schedules for restocking our stores.”

The Mayor also touched on events scheduled outside of City sponsored events.

“We do know that there are events scheduled outside of those sponsored by the City of Rock Springs, these events where more than fifteen people would gather at one time should be canceled for at least the next three weeks, or until further notice, to minimize the spread of this virus. It is better to be safe than to take the risk. We will save many lives and minimize the impact on our medical facilities if we do our part in controlling the spread of this virus.”

Finally, the Mayor spoke about the impact COVID-19 has had on small businesses around the county.

 

“Some small businesses are going to struggle during this time,” said Mayor Kaumo. “We have been communicating with the State to find ways to support these businesses through these trying times. Some businesses have shut down completely, while others continue to operate. Do your best to spend dollars at restaurants that provide drive-up, carryout, and delivery options. Purchase gift cards for future needs wherever possible. Our businesses are the backbone to our community and without them, we lose jobs and even lose more sales tax generation. So please, support these businesses in these trying times as best you can.”

“I think everyone in our community has a common goal to get through this ordeal as a civilized community. I ask that everyone take a leadership role in doing what is right, and in the best interest of our entire community. We will get through this together. We are Americans, and we pull together in times of need. This is one of those times. Let us not lose our ability to act as Americans and let us do our part to overcome the situation as best we possibly can, in a civilized and respectful manner.”