Two Laramie County commissioners on Friday issued statements on Facebook in support of the Laramie County Health Board in their recent decision to mandate the wearing of face masks to combat the spread of COVID-19.

You can read the full statements from commissioner Troy Thompson and Gunnar Malm by clicking on the links to the highlighted Facebook pages.

The health board is slated to meet at noon on Tuesday to consider a draft face mask mandate currently being written by Laramie County Health Officer Dr. Stan Hartman.

The board on a unanimous vote on Tuesday, agreed to have Dr. Hartman write a public face mask mandate modeled on one already in effect in Teton County. That mandate requires the wearing of face masks while inside or in line to enter businesses, while traveling in taxis and some other locations. It does include medical exemptions for people with medical reasons to not wear a facemask.

Thompson, who is also a veterinarian, posted a statement which reads in part:

'' I am very proud of the team approach that we have taken in Laramie County and I stand by every decision that has been made regarding COVID-19.
We have a city/county health board whose members are appointed, half by the county commission and half by the Cheyenne City Council. We rely on this board, as we do the numerous other boards that we appoint, to use their expertise to help make decisions for our county. Last week this board voted unanimously to ask our county health officer to institute a mask mandate. I have had many people ask how it is possible for individuals, who are not elected, to make such important decisions in our community. My answer to this question is that our elected officials are ultimately responsible, we appoint the board, and the board names the health officer. So there is ultimate accountability, and it lies with us, the elected officials.''

Thompson, in his comments, echoed Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr in saying that he believes the county faces another shutdown if the mask mandate is not put into effect.

Malm, who chairs the commission, posted a statement which reads in part:

""So now here we sit approaching the 8th month of a crisis we all hoped would be over long ago, watching numbers spike in our community. While treatments and information are improving, the volume of new cases is putting strains on all systems. Our Hospital currently has 16+ Covid patients, with 3 in ICU and two on ventilators {numbers current as of 10/22/20}. The average Covid patient stay is nearly 3x the length of an average hospital stay at CRMC, and the level of care and PPE required is substantially higher than other admissions. Additionally, as more and more exposures occur, and residents are required to quarantine, businesses risk shutting their doors not because of closure orders but because they lack the staff to operate.

So what do we do? I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on Facebook, so like other areas of being a Commissioner, I must rely upon what experts I trust are saying. Dr. Hartman and the Board of Health believe that a mask mandate is the best and only viable option to get things back under control."

Dr. Hartman will be the guest on the ''Weekend in Wyoming" program on a.m. 650, KGAB today [Oct. 24] AT 11  a.m.. If the health board signs off on the facemask mandate, the final decision on authorizing it will be made by State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist.

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