By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming public health officials are “very concerned” about the state’s level of COVID-related hospitalizations and the potential impact of care availability in local communities.
Neighboring states, such as Idaho, are hitting critical care levels in recent days, meaning that there are more COVID patients than some of their hospitals can handle.
“We are very concerned about the level of hospitalizations we have been seeing recently and know high levels of hospitalizations have potential serious impacts on that availability of patient care in our communities,” Wyoming Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday.
She did not say what states have reached out to Wyoming hospitals to send patients due to overflow, but did note that Wyoming residents are much more frequently transferred to other states for care.
She added that Wyoming does not have a predetermined number of statewide hospitalizations that would trigger a critical care action like Idaho, which implemented a crisis standard on Monday.
Idaho health officials warned residents that they may not get the care they would normally expect if they need to be hospitalized, according to ABC News. The move allows hospitals to allot scarce resources like intensive care unit rooms to patients most likely to survive.
As of Friday, Wyoming had 189 COVID patients hospitalized across the state, according to Wyoming’s hospitalization tracker.
But only 54 intensive care unit beds were available, less than half of what Wyoming normally has. The Cheyenne Regional Medical Center had the most COVID patients, with 40, and the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper followed with 38 patients.
“We continue to encourage people to get a free, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines if they haven’t already,” Deti told Cowboy State Daily. “Our other primary recommendations include staying home when ill unless seeking medical attention, common-sense physical distancing and wearing masks in indoor public settings.”