By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
Although the virus is still active in Park County, the availability of tests for COVID-19 has dwindled.
Bill Crampton, Public Health Nursing Supervisor for Park County, said hospitals in Cody and Powell had invested in equipment for rapid coronavirus tests earlier this summer, and benefactors had made it possible to conduct 500 tests per week in Powell. But Crampton said that didn’t last long.
“Our own advertising kind of overran us,” he said, “and we were running out of them – like, three weeks later, we were running out of them on Wednesday.”
Then last week, testing availability in Powell had dwindled down to just 60 per week, due to a change in the types of viruses the machines test for.
“Because the company is making a new test cartridge that will not only test for COVID-19, but it will also test for Influenza-A, Influenza-B and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).”
With the change in the types of tests being conducted, Crampton said that those tests will only be available to patients and staff at the hospitals in Park County, meaning means a person must be symptomatic in order to be tested for COVID-19.
Crampton explained that both Cody and Powell are setting up pulmonary clinics in their hospitals specifically to address respiratory distress conditions – especially now that flu season is around the corner.
“Rather than overload the ER with flu-like symptoms and things like that, they’ll have another clinic set aside in its own space where they can review these specific lung problem patients,” he said.
He added that the county did receive a grant from the CARES Act which will be spent on salaries for contact tracers and public health staff, as well as testing supplies, in order to keep up with the demand as the pandemic wears on.