Governor Mark Gordon clarified that the role of the Wyoming National Guard in assisting with contact tracing is very limited. Due to the record number of new positive cases of COVID-19 the Department of Health and counties needed urgent assistance, but the Guard members’ role is limited to contacting individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 based on their contact with someone who has tested positive (contact tracing).
The Governor emphasized that the agreement between the Wyoming National Guard and the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is only for contact tracing services. The agreement 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.”
Utilizing the National Guard to assist with contact tracing is a strategy that has been deployed by other states, including Utah, Oklahoma and Arizona when COVID-19 cases were surging. The Wyoming Guard’s assistance is a temporary solution until additional contact tracing resources are in place. WDH Director Mike Ceballos 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 COVID-19 in Wyoming, including on contact tracing, is available on the WDH website.