Based on a release by the Wyoming Department of Corrections (WDOC), the department has recorded their ninth death due to COVID-19, up from eight in the previous week.

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The last time there was an increase was sometime between December 2021 and January 2022, when the number of deaths increased from six on Dec. 16 to eight on Jan. 13.

Paul Martin, Deputy Administrator for the WDOC Transparency Division, said he is not able to provide any information on the most recent death due to protected health information.

While there have been several cases of outbreaks at WDOC facilities during the pandemic, the only cases are currently at the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp in Newcastle, with 22 reported cases of COVID-19 among inmates, two at the Wyoming Women's Center in Lusk, and one at the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins.

Martin said on March 4 that roughly 57% of inmates have received at least one vaccination and 22% have received a booster shot.

WDOC does not keep track of the vaccination rate among staff, as some get a shot in the facilities and some get them outside of department facilities.

Cases in Wyoming have dropped dramatically, going from an all-time high of 4,085 cases on Jan. 18, down to 1,979 cases on Jan. 31, to 192 on Feb. 28, and most recently 71 cases reported on March 9.

Deaths haven't seen quite the same decrease, though they have gone from 46 on Jan. 4, to 25 on Feb. 1, 29 on Feb. 22, and most recently eight on March 8.

Hospitalizations have also fallen, going from 60 COVID-19 patients in Wyoming hospitals on Jan. 1, up to a three-month high of 167 on Feb. 1, and down some of the lowest number of patients since June of 34 on March 10, with the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center currently having 10 COVID-19 patients, and the Wyoming Medical Center at seven.

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Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

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