By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s coronavirus-related hospitalizations have continued to decline since hitting a peak of more than 230 in late November, with only 84 people hospitalized as of Thursday.
According to the Wyoming hospital tracker, this was a slight increase over the 81 patients hospitalized as of Wednesday, but still is a decline from the beginning of the week, when around 88 patients were hospitalized due to the virus.
Natrona County Public Health Officer Dr. Mark Dowell credited the decrease in hospitalizations to the use of face masks and social distancing.
“We’re maintaining low levels in the hospital, at around 11 to 15 patients at any one time,” Dowell said. “[This] has incredibly improved due to the community masking up and doing their job. For that, I applaud you completely.”
Cheyenne Regional Medical Center had the most patients, with 20 as of Thursday. There were 11 patients in the hospital’s intensive care unit, as well.
The Wyoming Medical Center in Casper had 17 coronavirus patients and eight patients in its ICU.
St. Johns Medical Center in Jackson had nine coronavirus patients, with Cody Regional Hospital and Campbell County Memorial Hospital trailing just behind, with seven coronavirus patients in each.
Of the 244 available ventilators in the state, only nine were being used, five of which were at the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.
However, just because someone is on a ventilator or in the intensive care unit doesn’t mean they’re a coronavirus patient.
The decline in coronavirus hospitalizations prompted Gov. Mark Gordon on Thursday to relax the state’s restrictions on the size of public gatherings. However, he extended the requirement for people to wear face masks in public settings until at least Feb. 14.
As of Wednesday, 77,729 coronavirus tests had been conducted at hospitals across the state, with a 11.02% cumulative positive rate.