COVID-19 cases are rising at an alarming rate, which prompted the Casper City Council on Saturday to rescind a previous resolution that would have allowed bars to stay open later on the Halloween evening.

"Where we were at then to where we are at today has changed significantly," Mayor Steve Freel said during a special or emergency meeting council meeting.

Freel said on Friday he met with City Manager Carter Napier, and representatives of Casper College, the Natrona County School District, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department, the Wyoming Medical Center - infectious disease, and the Natrona County Commission.

As of Sunday morning there are currently 543 active cases in Natrona County.

Doctors asked him to ask the council to rescind the resolution because they were concerned that the gatherings would cause the COVID cases to spike, Freel said.

The hardest hit populations are in assisted or long-term care facilities. Four of them have 120 positive residents and 80 positive staff.

These facilities have reported nine deaths in the past 15 days, and eight other residents are dying, he said.

County officials have spoken with the county coroner's office about how to handle the rising number of deaths in its limited space, Freel added.

Another six deaths will be added from the Wyoming Medical Center.

While those who have died or are dying have underlying health issues, COVID is one of driving factors their deaths, Freel said.

In addition, there are 250 health care providers who in a modified quarantine, meaning they can work in a limited capacity.

In the City of Casper itself, there are 50 essential service staff -- police, fire, refinery staff -- that are on modified quarantine or isolation.

The city-county health department has enlisted the help of the Wyoming National Guard, Freel added.

He said the bar owner that requested the extended hours told him that Halloween is the "Black Friday" to the bars to make up for their lost revenue, and the city's rescinding the extended hours won't affect bars in other areas of the county. Those bar customers will just go to other bars and gather in smaller areas.

The vote to rescind passed 5-4.

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