CASPER — The University of Wyoming has 42 active cases of the novel coronavirus, as of Tuesday, after the school identified 30 new staff and students with the disease over the weekend.
Two of the new cases are students who live in residence halls. University spokesman Chad Baldwin declined to say if the students were athletes or not, but he said it’s believed that they contracted the virus from within the community or from visitors. 47 members of the UW community have been directed to quarantine because of exposure to a person who tested positive.
The university began last week its pre-return testing. The school said its contractor had processed 9,898 samples.
In addition to the two residence hall students, as of Monday, the other positive cases were six students self-isolating outside of Laramie (some are in Casper, Sheridan, Riverton and in three other states); nine students in Laramie who live in off-campus housing “who’ve had no presence on campus;” six UW employees isolating at home; four who were “’past positives’ who have recovered;” and five individuals the school is still trying to contact.
However, those numbers increased Tuesday, with nine employees now among the active cases and 31 students having active cases who live off-campus.
A total of 54 UW-tied cases have been identified since the pandemic first emerged in Wyoming. The 42 active cases are a mixture of those identified in recent weeks. Albany County, where UW is based, has had 91 confirmed cases and 13 probable cases.
The school last week announced that it would not reopen for in-person learning in August. Classes will begin online on Aug. 24, and in-person school will begin phasing in on Sept. 7. The school had previously released a plan to reopen campus immediately, guidelines that called for mandatory masking and frequent testing.
Baldwin said the school didn’t have enough tests available, nor did it have the capacity to process those tests, to safely reopen next week. He said the school wants to be able to test all students and employees twice a week.
The university has received millions from the state to jumpstart its reopening. Baldwin said it’s possible that the university will request more money as it continues to work to reopen.
Also last week, the Cowboys football team learned that its season had been canceled along with the rest of the Mountain West due to concerns over the pandemic.