The coronavirus scourge in the U.S. has reached another dark milestone: All 50 states have now reported at least one death.
After nearly two weeks as the only state without a fatality, Wyoming on Monday reported the death of an “older man” in the north-central part of the nation’s least-populated state. He had “health conditions that put him at a higher risk,” according to the Wyoming Department of Health, amid a public health crisis that has killed more than 23,000 Americans.
The Cowboy State had been the only in the U.S. without a death since Hawaii reported the first of its now nine fatalities on March 31.
“This is a sad development we hoped we wouldn’t see in Wyoming and we want this person’s family to know they have our sympathy,” State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist said in a statement.
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The Johnson County man had tested positive for coronavirus before he died last week, and his cause of death was confirmed on Monday, health department Department spokeswoman Kim Deti said.
Via Twitter, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said he was “saddened” by the news, adding that the man’s death serves “as a grim reminder of the importance of following public health orders and guidance” to limit serious illnesses and deaths.
While Wyoming is one of just eight states that hasn’t issued a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order, Gordon has prohibited gatherings of 10 or more people and closed schools and many businesses until April 30. He has often used the hashtag #StaySafeStayHome on Twitter.
The other states that haven’t mandated their residents to stay home: Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Utah.
Wyoming — with a population that’s less than each of the country’s 30 largest cities, about 578,000 in 2019 — had 373 confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus in 21 of its 23 counties on Monday.
Contributing: The Associated Press