By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Cheyenne’s hospital is seeing an “unprecedented” surge in patients, its CEO announced on Monday.
According to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center CEO Tim Thornell, the surge is due to people in the Cheyenne area experiencing a number of illnesses and emergencies, from COVID-19 and heart attacks to complications from diabetes and other issues.
Due to the surge, the hospital’s staff is housing and caring for patients in the hospital’s emergency department until an inpatient room becomes available, delaying the move of some patients into regular rooms.
Thornell said that last Thursday, the hospital had more than 20 patients who were being housed in the emergency department until they could be admitted to the hospital’s inpatient units.
As of Monday morning, the number of patients waiting for an inpatient room had declined to 11.
“To address this situation, CRMC has contingency plans that allow us to surge beyond our normal capacity. Those plans were put into effect late last week,” Thornell said.
The hospital had 41 coronavirus patients hospitalized as of Monday, according to a social media post, 35 of whom had not been vaccinated for COVID. Hospital staff share daily updates of how many people are at CRMC.
Patients with less serious conditions have also seen their wait times for emergency department care increased, Thornell said.
“We anticipate this situation will be short lived; however, we are cautiously planning for an extended period,” he said. “We are sharing this news so that our community understands why emergency wait times are increasing and why inpatient rooms are not readily available.”
He also noted that the current limits on inpatient rooms are due largely to staffing isuses, not ongoing constrution at the hospital.
“Despite these tremendous challenges, our employees and providers are working 24/7 to ensure that everyone who comes to us receives an appropriate level of care,” Thornell said. “We continue to emphasize that anyone experiencing signs or symptoms of a heart attack, stroke or any other medical emergency please call 911 right away; do not delay getting emergency help.”
He added that delaying care could result in a worsening condition that might require more intensive treatment or adverse outcomes.
“We understand that this current situation is alarming. But we believe it’s important that we are transparent about what is happening and why,” Thornell concluded. “Please know that no matter the circumstances, we continue to be here for our community.”
According to the Wyoming COVID hospitalization tracker, 172 people were hospitalized due to the virus across the state Monday.