LARAMIE, WYO. | (University of Wyoming) – Wyoming residents are reporting more anxiety about the spread of COVID-19 in the state, according to a new survey by the University of Wyoming’s Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center (WYSAC).

The survey was conducted Oct. 6, around the time when Wyoming was in the early stages of the current COVID-19 surge.

Over one-third of Wyomingites say they’re very or fairly anxious about the spread of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 7 percentage points from September, but still 4 points less than the Aug. 10 survey. Another 20 percent say they are somewhat anxious about the spread in Wyoming, while just over 40 percent of Wyoming residents say they are not at all anxious about the spread in Wyoming.

While just over one-third of Wyomingites say the worst is yet to come in the United States, 39 percent say the worst is yet to come in Wyoming — an increase of 10 percentage points since September. Only 17 percent think the worst is behind us, a decrease of 9 points.

A majority, 53 percent, of Wyoming residents say they have confidence in the Wyoming health care system to handle the response to COVID-19, while 29 percent say they do not have confidence.

“Despite an increase in anxiety surrounding COVID-19 in Wyoming, we see self-reported face mask use remain steady at just over 60 percent of the state population,” says Brian Harnisch, senior research scientist in charge of the project at WYSAC. “This compares to roughly 85 percent of the national population that say they have worn a mask or covering all or most of the time when in stores or other businesses.”

The survey is the ninth of multiple surveys WYSAC is conducting to measure public opinion on a number of topics related to COVID-19. A total of 505 Wyoming residents participated in the survey representing all Wyoming counties, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Other findings from the latest survey:

— Those who describe COVID-19 as a “real threat” stand at 47 percent, up 2 points from September, while 47 percent say it is “blown out of proportion,” down 2 points.

— Just under two-thirds, 65 percent, of Wyomingites say they are very or somewhat concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their personal finances.

— A slight majority, 55 percent, say they support a limit on public gatherings as a policy to slow the spread of COVID-19, an increase of 4.4 points since September. Alternatively, just 21 percent say they support the closure of K-12 schools, and 19 percent support the closure of day care centers, a decrease of 7 points each since September.

— A majority, 61 percent, of Wyomingites say they always or often wear a face mask when in indoor public places. Alternatively, 24 percent say they rarely or never wear a mask.

— Approval of the way Gov. Mark Gordon is handling the COVID-19 crisis declined, with 60 percent saying they strongly approve or somewhat approve of the way he is handling things — a decrease of 6 percentage points. His net approval rating is at plus 24.7 points.

— A large majority, 71 percent, say they trust the information they hear from the governor about COVID-19 a great deal or a good amount.

— Approval of the way President Donald Trump is handling the COVID-19 crisis has remained steady, with 55 percent saying they strongly approve or somewhat approve of the way he is handling things. President Trump’s net approval rating is at plus 11.7 points.

— Exactly half (50 percent) of Wyoming residents say they trust the information they hear from Trump about COVID-19 a great deal or a good amount.

— Regarding the way local government and health officials are handling the COVID-19 crisis, 64 percent say they strongly approve or somewhat approve of the way they are handling things, resulting in a net approval rating of plus 32.7 points.

— A large majority, 73 percent, say they trust the information they hear from their local government officials about COVID-19 a great deal or a good amount.

— Approval of the way Congress is handling the COVID-19 crisis remains low, with just 19 percent saying they strongly approve or somewhat approve of the way Congress is handling things, resulting in a net approval rating of minus 53.8 points.

To see the survey methodology, chart, figures and complete survey results, go to https://wysac.uwyo.edu/wysac/.