Park County Health Care In Crisis Mode

The sharp rise in COVID cases in Park County has caused health officials to re-implement crisis procedures.

Wendy Corr

September 09, 20212 min read

Cody regional health scaled

The sharp rise in COVID cases in Park County has caused health officials to re-implement crisis procedures.

Ashley Trudo, Marketing Director for Cody Regional Health, says that the organization has implemented the Wyoming Department of Health Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) and initiated their internal Incident Command System (ICS) in response to the large influx of COVID patients.

The increase in summer tourism has put an additional strain on resources, Trudo said.

To make matters worse, she said Montana and surrounding state hospitals have been unable to accept transfers requiring critical care, because those facilities are either at, or over, capacity.

Trudo said the guiding principle of the Crisis Standards of Care is to do the greatest good for the greatest number of persons. The CSC is defined as a “major” change in usual healthcare operations, which can affect the level of care provided made necessary by some pervasive or catastrophic disaster” – in this case, COVID-19.

Dr. Elise Lowe, Hospitalist at Cody Regional Health, said due to this “major” change in health care operations, the organization may have to go to an even more extreme standard of care in order to meet patient needs.

“This could mean double occupancy in our ACU/CCU units,” Lowe said. “We have communicated our situation with the Big Horn Basin Healthcare Coalition, Park County Public Health, the Wyoming Department of Health, and Homeland Security.”  

Elective surgeries are at risk of being canceled depending on staffing availability, bed capacity, and supply chain resources at Cody Regional Health.

Trudo says that only emergent surgeries will be considered moving forward if COVID cases continue to increase as they have over the last several weeks at Cody Regional Health’s Emergency Department, Walk-in Clinic and Acute Care/Critical Care units.

She said this is the main reason the organization has implemented their Incident Command System – a system that was dismantled in the spring when cases fell to almost nonexistent levels.

Keith Ungrund, Chief Clinical Officer at CRH, said people can still count on the local health care system but that the system needs help from the community.

“Please social distance, wear a mask and stay home if you are experiencing COVID symptoms,” he said.

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Wendy Corr

Features Reporter