By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
In about two weeks, the number of active coronavirus cases in Park County has spiked from 52 to 154. And that surge has put a strain on the services that Cody and Powell medical facilities can offer.
Lab services in both communities have been curtailed to allow staff to keep up with the resulting increases in coronavirus testing demands, according to officials.
Ashley Trudo, public relations director for Cody Regional Health, said as of last week, the services of the Health Check lab, which allows people to get their blood work done without a doctor’s order, have been closed to the public.
“Just due to the demand in testing on our team, and the infection rate, we cannot keep up with what we’ve got going on,” Trudo said.
Cody Regional Health is combining all of its resources at one location — West Park Hospital — to boost the efficiency of its lab techs, Trudo said. However, hospital officials also decided to limit available services only those that are essential.
“If you’re going in to see your provider, and you need labs done, absolutely, we’re going to get your labs for you,” she said. “But if you’re just going in for yourself, which is very nice to be able to do, we’re not able to provide that at this time.”
Trudo said drive-thru COVID testing – which has been moved from the hospital to Cody’s rodeo grounds – has been a huge benefit to the community, and the lab will continue to offer that service three times a week, with a limit of 50 tests per day, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Jeanine Brus, director of Cody Regional Health’s laboratory, reported that more than 3,500 tests have been performed here since July, with the number of tests coming back positive increasing in the last two weeks to total 1.54%.
At Powell Valley Healthcare, outpatient wellness lab services have been suspended for the last two weeks due to the surge, said Nicole Ostermiller, the chief operating officer for PVH.
Ostermiller said the facility hoped to resume those services later this week.With the increase in cases in Park County, Cody Regional Health has opened a respiratory clinic that’s available to people who suffering from coronavirus symptoms.
“We have double staffed our team during those respiratory times,” Brus said, “so we can see respiratory patients on top of regular walk-in clinic patients.”
Trudo stressed that despite the strain on Cody Regional Health’s services, at this time, the facility is still able to help people who become ill.
“We’re doing our very best to make sure that you get seen in a very timely manner, but please don’t hesitate to come.”