Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

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By Seth Romsa
Staff Writer 

WCPH receives CARES funds; no exemption for fair yet


July 23, 2020

WORLAND – Washakie County Public Health Nurse Manager Amanda Heinemeyer reported to the county commissioners Tuesday that Washakie County Public Health (WCPH) had received $130,000 in Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding for the testing of uninsured and underinsured individuals in Washakie County.

She said with this funding they may be able to do surveillance testing in local businesses, but added that she is waiting on more guidelines before proceeding with that testing.

Heinemeyer said that WCPH has discussed a partnership with Banner Health to ensure there is testing for families that are uninsured or underinsured with school fast approaching. Heinemeyer was set to discuss the plan with Banner on Wednesday. In her understanding, the hospital would be able to get full reimbursement through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for testing uninsured individuals, so Heinemeyer believes that most of the county’s funding in the matter will go toward underinsured individual’s testing.

Heinemeyer said that her understanding of the state’s

definition of underinsured is someone who does not have 100% of the cost covered. Defining what is classified as uninsured or underinsured in this matter is a detail that will need to be worked out along with other details before the partnership will take full effect, and more will be provided as details come out.

Heinemeyer told the commissioners that turnaround time for testing has been quick at this time, with Banner having a rapid test machine available. Even if a test is negative or positive with the rapid test, it must be sent to the state for confirmation.

Washakie County, as of Tuesday, July 21, has three active cases out of 39 total confirmed in the county with no hospitalizations at the Washakie Medical Center. The most recent lab-confirmed case by the Wyoming Department of Health was a middle-aged woman on Sunday, July 19.

Heinemeyer and the commissioners discussed how they should submit items for reimbursement that were needed to purchase for COVID-19, and the commissioners agreed they would wait and see what items get approved initially from other submissions before sending their list as a county.


As of Tuesday, the Washakie County fair board has submitted multiple attempts for large event variances that are required for their main rodeo, pig wrestling and monster truck show to take place with more than 250 people at the Washakie County Fair within the next week.

The current state order regarding gatherings limits outside attendance to 250 spectators. The number does not include participants of the events.

No such variance to allow more than the 250 had been approved by Tuesday, July 21, as the main concern with the submitted variances has been the capacity that the stands at the Washakie County Fairgrounds are able to hold.

In building manager Tom Schmeltzer’s report earlier in the meeting the commissioners requested he go get measurements of the stands to help determine capacity of the stands, and later told the commissioners that the capacity of the main stand would be able to hold around 950 people without COVID restrictions.

Schmeltzer also installed sneeze guards on food booths at the fairgrounds since the last commissioners meeting.

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, Commissioner Fred Frandson wanted to remind Washakie County residents that the membership with Guardian Flight and their parent company Airmedcare Network runs through March 31, 2023 after the contract was extended at the end of March this year. This allows for life flights to any place that Guardian Flight or Airmedcare Network flies with no out of pocket expense.

Frandson said the commissioners have received calls about solicitors potentially contacting Washakie County residents to tell them that this coverage has stopped, and the commissioners wanted to reiterate to the public that the contract with Guardian Flight is through the end of March 2023.

More on the county commissioner meeting will be published in the July 30 issue of the Northern Wyoming News.


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