By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s coronavirus-related hospitalizations hit levels this week not seen since December, according to the state’s hospitalization tracker.
As of Thursday, the state had 178 COVID-related hospitalizations, a number the state hasn’t seen since mid-December. The state’s highest number of hospitalizations was seen in late November, with around 250 patients.
“It’s really bad right now,” Wyoming Hospital Association President Eric Boley told Cowboy State Daily on Friday. “Our numbers are looking worse day by day and there’s more concern now that schools are going back, that we’ll see a surge of pediatric patients.”
Both the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center and the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper had 40 COVID patients as of Thursday. Last week, CRMC’s intensive care unit was nearing capacity and as of Thursday, the hospital’s ICU had 25 patients, with 11 beds left.
Just because someone is in the ICU doesn’t mean they are a COVID patient.
As of Friday, Natrona County had the highest number of active COVID cases in the state, with 539. Laramie County followed, with 424 cases.
The Wyoming Medical Center had 22 patients in its ICU, leaving only eight beds. It had 14 ventilators left available of its 24, but just because someone is on a ventilator doesn’t mean they are a COVID patient.
The second-highest number of COVID patients was found in Campbell County Memorial Hospital in Gillette and Sheridan Memorial Hospital, both with 14. Sheridan only had three ICU beds left of its 11. The St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson also only had three ICU beds left of its six.
“The best solution is for folks to get vaccinated,” Boley said. “We’re facing some real challenges, so wearing masks, washing your hands and social distancing will help. There’s a lot skepticism in our state about the solutions, but the truth is, COVID is right on our doorstep. Our hospitals and nursing homes are doing all they can, but we really need the public to help us out.”
Wyoming hospitals have done 129,803 COVID tests since the beginning of the pandemic last year. The state’s average seven-day positivity rate for COVID is 24.2%, according to the hospitalization tracker.