Natrona County Health Officer Concerned About Uptick In COVID Cases, Hospitalizations

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Natrona County health officer has expressed concern about the rising number of coronavirus cases in the county and state, as well as increasing hospitalizations.

In a video update, Dr. Mark Dowell talked about the safety of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (noting it was more likely for people to get a blood clot from getting the coronavirus than the vaccine) and how the vaccination rate in Natrona County is lagging.

“The vaccines are free,” he said. “No co-pay, no nothing, it’s another reason to get it. Some programs in the country are giving a free beer or mixed drink if you get your shot. That’s pretty crazy, but let’s do it.”

He noted that around 32% of adults in the United States are vaccinated against the coronavirus, the same as Wyoming’s statewide vaccination rate among adults.

However, Natrona County’s rate is around 25%, with only 29% of adults 18 and older getting one of the doses.

“That’s why Natrona County was in the New York Times as one of the least-vaccinated counties in the United States,” Dowell said. “As a group, as a family, Natrona County and the state of Wyoming, we can do much better.”

He added that people who wanted to avoid mask mandates and have a normal summer should prioritize getting vaccinated and there was no reason to not get the vaccine.

Then, Dowell noted that the Wyoming Medical Center has quadrupled its number of coronavirus patients this week, going from two to nine as of Wednesday morning.

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