According to recently compiled CDC data, Wyoming is among the top five states in new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.

As of Thursday afternoon, Wyoming ranks fifth with a total of 56.8 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past week.

Three of the states ranked above Wyoming in new cases per 100,000 residents border it, including Montana (70.7), South Dakota (112.6) and North Dakota (114.2).

Wisconsin is third with 72.2 new cases per 100,000 residents.

More than 2,100 new cases have been reported in the Cowboy State over the last week, according to the CDC.

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Further, according to Carnegie Mellon University, roughly 66% of Wyomingites wear facemasks. South Dakota and North Dakota round out the bottom three states with roughly 74% of residents in both states reporting that they wear masks.

Dr. Deborah Birx, who heads the White Houses Coronavirus Response Team, was in Riverton on Wednesday. Birx said masks clearly work and they are not a political issue.

Asked to address those who believe wearing — or not wearing — facemasks is a political issue, Birx was clear: The virus doesn't discriminate between Democrats and Republicans. The decision to wear a facemask is not political; it's based in science.

Wearing a face covering and taking other social distancing measures will help prevent the virus from spreading to high-risk populations. It's impossible to know if you're among them when you're at the grocery store or other public place.

"We owe it to each other," Birx said. "We need to assume that we are among those who need protection and that's why we need to wear a mask."

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has refrained from implementing a statewide mask requirement. Instead, he has deferred to local leaders to designate protocols tailored to their respective communities.

Currently, only Teton County requires mask usage in public places, though Laramie County is in the final steps of implementing a mask mandate.

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