CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KIFI/KIDK)-The Wyoming National Guard will assist the Department of Health in COVID-19 contact tracing, but Governor Mark Gordon said their work will be “very limited.”
A record number of new, positive COVID-19 cases prompted the Department of Health and counties across the state to ask for help.
Gordon said the Guard troops will have a limited role, contact individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 based on their contact with someone who has tested positive, called contact tracing.
But Gordon emphasized the agreement is only contact tracing services and does not include any enforcement activities whatsoever.
“In these challenging times, it’s critical that the citizens of Wyoming receive accurate information,” Governor Gordon said. “Contact tracing is a significant undertaking given the level of spread of COVID-19 right now. The Guard was selected to assist because they have qualified, well-trained individuals who could provide immediate assistance. The Department of Health is evaluating other long-term solutions that do not involve the Guard, but would allow them to keep up with demand.”
The use of Guard troops is a strategy that has worked in other states, including Utah, Oklahoma, and Arizona when COVID-19 cases were surging.
Department of Health Director Mike Ceballos repeated that the Guard’s assistance is a temporary solution until additional contact tracing resources are in place. So far, he said the Guard’s performance has been exemplary.
“The National Guard has provided the timely assistance needed to help us continue our agency’s response to this pandemic. We are grateful for the assistance offered by our fellow Wyomingites during these challenging times,” Ceballos said.
More information about the virus and contact tracing is available on the WDH website.