The second case of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, has been identified in Fremont County, according to state health officials.

The Wyoming Department of Health announced the discovery Friday night.

The patient is an older man with what the department called "currently unknown exposure risk." The man is currently hospitalized.

As is standard, the positive test from the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory is considered a 'presumptive positive.' The test result will need to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The state's first presumptive positive test result is from a Sheridan County woman and was announced Wednesday.

As with the first case, state health officials are working to learn more about the Fremont County man's exposure risk. They also want to identify and communicate with anyone who may have been in close contact with the patient.

Known contacts will be monitored for symptoms and tested if needed.

Symptoms reported with the disease are familiar to many: fever, cough and shortness of breath. COVID-19, the virus of international concern currently, is one of a number of different coronaviruses, some of which cause the common cold in humans and others which circulate among animals.

Experts believe COVID-19 spreads mostly between people who are in close contact and through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, the department said. A person who has contracted the virus is thought to be most contagious when they're most ill with obvious symptoms.

A person may also get COVID-19 by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.

To avoid the virus and help prevent its spread, state health officials recommend these steps:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
  • Stay home if sick.
  • Cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60 percent alcohol.

Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues -- among those most vulnerable to the disease -- should consider avoiding situations with increased risk for virus transmission. Examples include avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips, and avoiding crowded places.

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