By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Despite record numbers of active coronavirus cases being seen in Wyoming over the last week, the number of people hospitalized in the state for treatment of the illness remains fairly steady, according to Department of Health figures.
The figures showed that as of Friday, 22 people were hospitalized in 10 hospitals around the state, although earlier in the week, on Monday, the record of 23 hospitalizations was tied.
The record was set on April 20 and tied on April 21. The number of hospitalizations dropped in May and June, reaching a low of four before rising again in early July.
From Sunday through Thursday, the number of active coronavirus cases in the state, including both laboratory-confirmed and probable cases, increased by 252 to total 891. Each day of the week, a record was set for the total number of active cases.
On first glance, the numbers would appear to reflect a hospitalization rate of about 2.5%, however, Kim Deti, a spokeswoman for the Wyoming Department of Health, said patients being treated for coronavirus in other states are not counted in the figures.
“Many Wyoming residents are hospitalized/transferred for care in other states,” she said in an email to the Cowboy State Daily. “It may be more likely for the most seriously ill individuals, especially in certain areas of the state.”
Deti said the department did not know how many Wyoming residents might be receiving treatment in other states.
Deti added that no conclusions about coronavirus infections in Wyoming can be drawn from the hospitalization numbers.
The Wyoming Medical Center in Casper was treating the largest number of coronavirus patients as of Friday, eight, followed by Sheridan Memorial Hospital at three.
Although there were some fears earlier this year that coronavirus patients would overwhelm Wyoming’s hospitals and their intensive care units, state figures showed that most hospital beds in intensive care units remain open.
Of 120 ICU beds available statewide, only 38 were in use Thursday, the figures showed, and Deti noted that not all of those beds are being used by coronavirus patients.
Similarly, of the 181 ventilators available to treat the respiratory problems associated with the coronavirus, 13 were in use Friday. Deti noted that not all of the people using ventilators were coronavirus patients.
Wyoming has seen more than 155,000 people tested for the coronavirus since the pandemic began in mid-March. The rate of positive test results is almost 2.9%, below the national average of 4.8% reported by the Centers for Disease Control.