The Casper City Council at a work session on Tuesday tentatively agreed to allocate $22,325 to the Casper-Natrona County Health Department for a backup generator to keep its vaccines safe.

Health Department Director Anna Kinder said numerous power outages last summer compromised their refrigerators and freezers that hold $160,000 worth of vaccines.

"Fortunately we were able to have back up and have had no vaccine lost to date," Kinder wrote in a memo to Mayor Steve Freel and City Manager Carter Napier in the agenda for the work session.

"It is critical for the Health Department to be prepared for any kind of disaster, emergency or outbreak that our city and county could experience," she wrote.

Tuesday, she said the current generator works, but it is not powerful enough to serve the entire department building at 475 S. Spruce St.

Natrona County Commissioner Brook Kaufman told the city council that the commission already set aside its $22,325 match and ordered the diesel generator. (The health department is jointly funded by the county and the city.)

Kinder added the old generator will be repurposed and used by the county possibly as a mobile unit.

Tuesday, she also told the council that there are no cases of the coronavirus -- now formally known as COVID-19 -- in Wyoming. The disease that started in Wuhan, China, and has spread to 28 countries and killed more than 1,000 people, with most of the cases confirmed in China, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

However, the flu is much more serious locally and nationally, Kinder said.

Most of the 4,399 vaccinations administered by the health department in 2019 were for the flu, she added.

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