By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming now has the highest rate of COVID deaths in the United States, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Wyoming had 11.9 deaths per 100,000 people in the last seven days, overtaking Montana (whose rate is 11.1 per 100,000 people) to have the highest death rate in the nation.
The state saw 69 COVID-related deaths in the last week, totaling 1,149 total COVID deaths seen in the state since the beginning of the pandemic.
Montana actually saw 119 deaths in the last seven days, but population density factors into Wyoming having the highest rate.
Alaska, Montana and Wyoming are respectively the three states with the highest COVID-19 transmission rates per capita. Wyoming reported 3,037 COVID-19 cases in the past seven days, amounting to 524.7 cases per 100,000 people, according to the CDC.
Florida, California and Connecticut all had some of the lowest death rates in the nation, while Florida and California were also charting low on the list for active COVID case rates.
California currently requires anyone who is not fully vaccinated to wear masks while inside public settings, whereas Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon has repeatedly stated he will not issue any type of mask or vaccine mandate.
Wyoming saw a new peak of COVID-related hospitalizations last week, with 248 people hospitalized across the state due to the virus, according to the Wyoming hospitalization tracker.
Sixty-seven of those patients were at the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper, while Cheyenne Regional Medical Center had the second-highest number of patients with 34 as of Friday. The Wyoming Medical Center also did not have any available intensive care unit beds as of Friday.
SageWest Health Care in Lander, Memorial Hospital of Carbon County in Rawlins, Cody Regional Health and Campbell County Memorial Hospital in Gillette also had no available ICU beds.
Wyoming’s Legislature will convene this week for a special session to discuss President Joe Biden’s proposed vaccine mandates for companies with more than 100 employees.