Grand Teton National Park to Reinstitute Indoor Mask Requirement
According to a press release by the National Park Service, masks are required for everyone in all park buildings in Grand Teton National Park, regardless of vaccination status.
This is due to the increase in the COVID-19 community level in Teton County, which is based on criteria set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
C.J. Adams, Public Affairs Specialist with Grand Teton National Park, said they changed their policy at the beginning of March to follow the CDC's community levels.
Those levels are based on two factors, new cases per 100,000 and the percent of staffed inpatient beds being used by COVID-19 patients.
Based on those metrics, 9.74% of the country is in a county with high levels of COVID-19, 32.75% is in a county at medium, and 57.71% is at low.
However, when it comes to community transmission, which measures new cases per 100,000 and the percent of positive tests in the past seven days, 80.7% of the country is in a county with high transmission.
Cases of COVID-19 in Wyoming have been increasing in the past two months, going from zero new cases on April 12, to 286 on May 10, up to a recent high of 1,235 on June 7, the highest since Jan. 31.
Adams said that although some of their employees are out sick with COVID-19, it is not a significant number.
Deaths and hospitalizations on the other hand have stayed relatively low, with five deaths reported on April 12, down to zero for two weeks at the end of May, and up to four on June 7.
And over that same period, COVID-19 hospitalizations have gone from seven in April, to four in May, then up to 17 on June 7, the most recent hospitalization data available.
COVID-19 vaccinations in Wyoming have plateaued at the same time, increasing from 57.2% having at least one dose of the vaccine by Feb 9 to 58.2% on June 12.
Adams said he is unsure of the number of employees of the Grand Teton park that are vaccinated.
Wyoming is currently the least vaccinated state in the country, with Mississippi in second at 59.8% of the population with at least one dose, while the national average is 78%.
Changes to Grand Teton's masking requirements will be posted on the park’s website and social media channels as the community levels change.