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Wyoming COVID Hospitalizations Drop to 31

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations continued to drop across Wyoming this week, falling to 31 patients as of Thursday.

According to the Wyoming hospital tracker, coronavirus hospitalizations have steadily dropped this week, going from 41 on Feb. 11 to 31 on Thursday.

The Wyoming Medical Center in Casper had the most coronavirus patients in the state with 11, an increase of two from the week prior.

The Cheyenne Regional Medical Center followed with the second largest number of COVID patients with four, down from six one week ago.

Interestingly, though, nearly half of the state’s 134 intensive care unit beds were occupied, with only 72 beds available as of Thursday. Eleven patients occupied ICU beds at CRMC and 12 occupied beds at the Wyoming Medical Center.

Just because a patient is in the ICU doesn’t mean they have the coronavirus, though.

Of the state’s available 264 ventilators, only 14 were in use, nine of which were at the Cheyenne hospital. However, just because someone is on a ventilator doesn’t mean they are a coronavirus patient.

As of Thursday, 84,253 coronavirus tests have been conducted at hospitals across Wyoming. The average seven-day positivity rate was 5.26%, an increase of 4.32% from the week prior.

Wyoming has seen 662 coronavirus-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

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Cold Temps, Snow Prevent COVID Vaccines From Getting to Wyoming

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

National weather issues are temporarily preventing some shipments to Wyoming and other states of vaccines intended to help prevent future coronavirus infections, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.

WDH is not expecting any Moderna vaccine doses to be delivered to any of its state locations this week due to the weather problems in other states.

Wyoming was slated to receive 5,700 first doses and 3,700 second doses for its distribution process. Shipments to the Walmart locations currently involved in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program are also affected.

“At this point, we are awaiting updates from our federal partners about next week’s shipments,” said Angie Van Houten, Community Health Section chief with WDH.

 As efforts to provide free, safe and effective vaccinations continue, more than 93,000 Wyoming residents have received their first dose so far when state and special federal counts are combined.

“Unfortunately, while we don’t have details available, we expect distribution plans and appointments in many of our counties may be affected in the coming days,” Van Houten said. “As we get more information from the national level, we will let our county and healthcare provider partners know what they can plan to receive and when.”

Each of the currently authorized coronavirus vaccines requires two doses for maximum effectiveness.

 “While availability of vaccine compared to current demand has been an ongoing issue, it’s frustrating to face this issue right now,” Van Houten said. “We have to ask people to stay tuned for state and local updates.”

Because some of the affected vaccine shipments included second doses, Van Houten noted individuals who are delayed in receiving their second dose can still receive the vaccine when it is available.

“There will not be a need to ‘start over,’” she said.

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51 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Wednesday; 749 Active

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Increases on new laboratory-confirmed and probable coronavirus cases pushed the number of active cases in the state up by 60 on Wednesday.

The Wyoming Health Department, in its daily coronavirus update, said the state saw 51 new laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases Wednesday, along with 48 new probable cases.

When combined with 39 new reports of recoveries among those with either confirmed or probable cases, the state was left with 749 active cases of COVID, an increase of 60 from Tuesday.

Fremont County had 127 active cases; Teton County had 100; Natrona County had 82; Laramie County had 67; Carbon had 62; Sweetwater had 52; Albany had 40; Uinta had 39; Sheridan had 38; Park had 31; Converse had 24; Lincoln had 23; Big Horn had 18; Campbell had 17; Goshen and Platte had nine; Washakie had four; Weston had three; Sublette had two, and Hot Springs and Johnson had one.

Crook and Niobrara counties reported no active cases Wednesday.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, subtracting the number of recoveries during the same period among patients with both confirmed and probable cases and taking into account the number of deaths attributed to the illness.

New confirmed cases were reported in 13 counties. Carbon County had the highest number of new cases at 13, followed by Fremont at 11.

The increase in confirmed and probable cases brought to 53,450 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March.

Of those, 52,039 people have recovered since the pandemic began, according to Health Department figures.

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Wyoming Department of Health Warns of COVID Vaccine Scams

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Wyoming Department of Health is warning residents to be on alert for suspicious and potentially fraudulent activity related to efforts to vaccinate people against the coronavirus.

“We are hearing about unexpected calls going to residents from people falsely claiming they represent a local health department or the Wyoming Department of Health,” said Michael Ceballos, WDH director. “The callers go on to request payment or personal details such as social security numbers.”

Ceballos noted some people may be asked to show Medicare or insurance cards at their vaccine appointments only so professionals giving shots can get reimbursed.

“We want to remind everyone that COVID-19 vaccines are free to those who are getting them and insurance is not required,” she said. “No one should be asking you for payment to get a shot or to make an appointment. Vaccines are not typically being given in homes and there is no payment option to get ahead in line. Your social security number is not needed and should not be given over the phone to someone who calls you unexpectedly.”

Important reminders about COVID-19 vaccines include:

  • The currently authorized vaccines require two doses for maximum protection.
  • For most people it is best to receive vaccines in the county where they live.

“It’s also important to ensure you are on the right website if seeking vaccine information or appointment details,” Ceballos said.

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Wyomingites Who Won’t Get Covid-19 Vaccination Don’t Trust Vaccine or Government

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A few days ago, we posted a Wall Street Journal article on our Facebook page which said according to a United States Census Bureau poll, 34% of Wyoming citizens were not planning on getting a Covid-19 vaccination.

That put Wyoming fifth in the country for the highest percentage of residents who were not planning on getting the vaccine.  Wyoming trailed Louisiana, Mississippi, Idaho, and Alabama.

We asked our readers, if they were a part of that 34%, to explain why they were against receiving the vaccine.

Immediately there was criticism about the poll. Many of our commenters said 34% was way too low. It must be higher, they said.

Further, what did the Wall Street Journal know about Wyoming citizens, some said.

Well, it wasn’t the Wall Street Journal. It was the Census Bureau’s poll.

Regardless, the University of Wyoming released a similar poll just a day later. 

Those results? Similar.

38.2% of Wyoming citizens polled said they were very unlikely (31.1%) or somewhat unlikely (7.2%) to get the vaccine.

Assuming these polls are accurate, we asked our not-planning-on-getting-a-vaccine-readers why they felt like they did.

Of the many respondents who did not object to being identified, most didn’t think the vaccine was tested thoroughly enough.

Melanie Haresky, who is in the process of moving to Lovell with her husband George, said even though they are in the “high-risk group”, they will not be getting a shot.

“They don’t know the long term or short term effects of the vaccine. The people receiving the shots, at this point, are human guinea pigs! NO THANKS! We’ll take our chances,” Haresky wrote.

Dan Austin, from Rock Springs, said as a long-time (now retired) paramedic in the Los Angeles area, he has seen many disasters, catastrophes, and disease outbreaks. 

He said the commonality that binds them altogether is “how badly the government messed things up, just as they have with [the Covid-19 outbreak].”

“There was tremendous political pressure to rush a vaccine trough development, testing and into distribution. Having seen what goes into drug development, I’m not completely certain this vaccine has been vetted thoroughly and the untoward effects can’t be clearly understood,” Martin said.

“I prefer not to find out the hard way something was missed, or worse yet, not admitted do during the testing phase,” he said.

Newcastle’s Helmut Shucraft also said the vaccine wasn’t “worth the risk.”

“[Drug companies] are excused from liability so they can’t be held responsible for any adverse effects of the vaccine, plus why would I need a vaccine for a virus that has a 99.something% chance of survival? Not only that, but the vaccine doesn’t keep you from spreading it, so again, what’s the point?,” he said.

William Wilson, in the Worland area, echoed many other readers when he told us that he doesn’t trust the government and it wasn’t tested thoroughly enough. He also said that the “pandemic is a hoax” and “[Covid-19] is a flu strain.”

Justine, who asked us not to use her last name, is from Cheyenne and said she was not anti-vaccine but, like many, she does not believe the vaccine was tested appropriately before release.

“I need to know if the lifelong effects that may occur outweigh what might occur from the disease itself,” she said.

“Currently, this vaccine has not been around long enough to make that determination. So, I’m not currently willing to risk additional damage to my body from a vaccine in relation to a virus that has a pretty high recovery rate overall,” she said.

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112 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Friday; 762 Active

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming grew by more than 40 on Friday as the state reported more than 100 new confirmed cases.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, reported 112 new confirmed cases of coronavirus and 40 new probable cases.

Meanwhile, the department said it received new reports of 110 recoveries among those with either confirmed or probable cases, leaving the state with 762 active cases, an increase of 42 from Thursday.

Fremont County had 112 active cases; Teton County had 100; Carbon County had 87; Natrona had 68; Laramie had 60; Sweetwater had 54; Uinta had 52; Albany had 40; Lincoln had 35; Sheridan had 34; Park had 28; Campbell had 21; Converse had 18; Platte had 16; Big Horn had 14; Goshen had 10; Washakie had four; Sublette and Weston had three; Hot Springs had two, and Johnson had one.

Crook and Niobrara counties had no active cases as of Friday.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, subtracting the number of recoveries during the same period among patients with both confirmed and probable cases and taking into account the number of deaths attributed to the illness.

New confirmed cases were reported in 14 counties. Carbon County had the highest number of new cases at 35, followed by Sweetwater with 25.

The increases in confirmed and probable cases brought to 53,683 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the illness was first detected in Wyoming in March.

Of those, 52,259 have recovered, according to Health Department figures.

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33 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Thursday; 720 Active

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming declined slightly on Thursday, falling to 720.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, reported 33 new laboratory-confirmed cases and 48 new probable cases.

When combined with new reports of 110 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases, the state was left with 720 active cases, a decline of 29 from Wednesday.

Fremont County had 128 active cases; Teton County had 100; Natrona County had 76; Laramie County had 59; Carbon had 54; Uinta had 45; Sweetwater had 39; Albany had 35; Sheridan had 34; Lincoln and Park had 29; Converse had 22; Big Horn had 18; Campbell had 17; Goshen had 11; Platte had 10; Sublette and Washakie had four; Weston had three; Hot Springs had two, and Johnson had one.

Crook and Niobrara counties remained free of active COVID cases Thursday.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, subtracting the number of recoveries during the same period among patients with both confirmed and probable cases and taking into account the number of deaths attributed to the illness.

Thirteen counties reported new confirmed cases. Teton County reported eight new cases and Lincoln County reported seven.

The increase in confirmed and probable cases brought to 53,531 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was identified in Wyoming in March.

Of those, 52,149 have recovered, according to Health Department figures.

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15 More COVID Deaths Brings Wyoming to 662 Total

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Fifteen more coronavirus-related deaths among Wyoming residents who tested positive for COVID-19 have been confirmed, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.

The deaths included:

• An adult Converse County woman died last month. She was hospitalized outside of Wyoming and had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.
• An older adult Fremont County woman died earlier this month. She was hospitalized and had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.
• An older adult Laramie County woman died within the last week. She had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.
• An older adult Laramie County woman died within the last week. She was hospitalized; it’s unclear whether she had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.
• An older adult Laramie County man died within the last week. He was hospitalized and had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.
• An older adult Laramie County man died earlier this month. He was a resident of a local long-term care facility and had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.
• An older adult Laramie County woman died earlier this month. She was hospitalized and had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.
• An older adult Natrona County man died earlier this month. He was hospitalized, was a resident of a local long-term care facility and had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.
• An older adult Natrona County man died earlier this month. He was hospitalized and had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.
• An older adult Park County woman died late last month. She was hospitalized in another state and had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.
• An older adult Sheridan County woman died earlier this month. She was a resident of a local long-term care facility and had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.
• An older adult Sheridan County woman died within the last week. She was a resident of a local long-term care facility and had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.
• An older adult Sheridan County woman died earlier this month. She was hospitalized, was a resident of a local long-term care facility and had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.
• Another older adult Sheridan County woman died within the last week. She was a resident of a local long-term care facility and had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.
• An older adult Teton County man died earlier this month. He was hospitalized and had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19.

Deaths among Wyoming residents are added to the state’s total based on official death certificate information and location of permanent residence. If death certificates do not describe COVID-19 as either causing or contributing to a death, those deaths are not included in the WDH count.

Among Wyoming residents, there have now been 662 coronavirus-related deaths, 45,387 lab-confirmed cases and 7,964 probable cases reported since the pandemic began.

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162 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Tuesday; 689 Active

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The number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming continued to decline Tuesday, falling by more than 80.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, said it received new reports of 284 recoveries among people with either confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19.

At the same time, the department reported 162 new laboratory-confirmed cases and 53 new probable cases, leaving the state with 689 active cases, a decline of 84 from Sunday.

No updates were issued Monday because of the President’s Day holiday.

Fremont County had 111 active cases as of Tuesday; Teton County had 102; Natrona County had 74; Laramie County had 66; Sweetwater had 50; Carbon had 47; Uinta had 39; Sheridan had 37; Albany had 36; Park had 33; Converse had 24; Lincoln had 18; Big Horn had 16; Campbell had 12; Goshen and Platte had seven; Washakie had four; Sublette and Weston had two, and Hot Springs and Johnson had one.

Crook and Niobrara counties had no active cases as of Tuesday.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, subtracting the number of recoveries during the same period among patients with both confirmed and probable cases and taking into account the number of deaths attributed to the illness.

New laboratory-confirmed cases were reported in 15 counties Tuesday. Fremont County reported 33 new cases, while Teton County reported 18.

The increase in confirmed and probable cases brought to 53,351 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since Wyoming’s first case was detected in March.

Of those, 52,000 have recovered since the pandemic began, according to Health Department figures.

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Rock Springs COVID-19 Patient Credits Hospital Staff For Saving His Life

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By Deb Sutton, Rock Springs Rocket Miner

ROCK SPRINGS — Cory DuPape credits the Emergency Room and Intensive Care Unit staff at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County with saving his life.

At 53, DuPape was confident in his good health. He worked out five or six times a week and rarely got even a cold. “I have never smoked, never done an illegal drug, and I rarely drink,” he said.

When COVID-19 hit DuPape on Dec. 17, it launched with a vengeance.

Always following the recommended protocols, he was surprised he contracted the disease at all. His employer requires all employees to use a mask and sanitize their facility multiple times a day. Despite his best efforts self-isolating at home, his wife, Nichole, also tested positive for COVID-19 but with lesser symptoms.

“I had 10 days of super high fever, a pounding headache, my eyeballs felt like they were bursting out my head. I lost my sense of taste, but not my smell. I was basically comatose,” said DuPape, branch manager at a local business.

“On the 11th day, when the fever broke, it hit my lungs,” he said. “I couldn’t breathe.” His wife called the ER and explained the situation. Instead of bringing him to the hospital, they worked with ER staff to set up the oxygen concentrator they still had in their home that had been used by another family member.

After weeks of struggling with his COVID-19 symptoms and a week on oxygen, DuPape thought he finally was turning a corner.

“My breathing was good. I was getting stronger,” he said. “On the 18th day I was up and sitting in the chair; I took off the oxygen.” His oxygen saturation registered at about 92 or 93.

Thinking he was on the mend, he got in his hot tub that morning. “I was rubbing my knee. I felt a vein on the back of my left knee that was sticking up and rock hard,” he said.

DuPape called his wife at work. Her first thought was “blood clot.”

Nichole DuPape then called the Sweetwater Memorial ER and spoke with Registered Nurse Shelly Lloyd. After their discussion, she insisted her husband go to the ER. DuPape was reluctant, but went. He was adamant he would not stay in the hospital.

A scan confirmed the blood clots in his leg. When the doctor asked about any other lingering symptoms, DuPape said he was still spitting up some “frothy stuff with a little bit of blood in it.” A scan showed clots in both lungs. The ER crew began talking to him about admission to Sweetwater Memorial’s ICU Unit.

“I didn’t want to be admitted to the hospital,” DuPape said. “I told them I didn’t want to stay. Give me some blood thinners and send me home. The doctor came in a couple of times to talk to me. He warned me it was a bad idea. But I told them I wanted to go home. So, they started processing me.”

Most of his resistance stemmed from the sadness of losing friends to COVID-19 after being admitted to the ICU. The thought of it scared him.

Lloyd, an Emergency Room nurse of nearly four years, took her turn at speaking with him about his condition. “She talked to me for a long time,” DuPape said. “She’s a friend. We’ve known each other for a long time.”

The conversation sparked something. He started thinking more about the consequences. It helped that his wife had their kids and his best friend call him. “They all called and yelled at me,” he said.

Finally, DuPape relented. The ER crew began the admission process. He ended up spending three days in the ICU. He said one nurse told him he had every symptom that had been reported since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

“I’m still not 100%,” he said. “It really affected my lungs. I’m still a little weak. I get tired easily. I’ll be on blood thinners for at least six months, and possibly for the rest of my life.”

Looking back, letting Sweetwater Memorial take care of him was the right thing to do. He is thankful to everyone who cared for him.

Cory DuPape says his care team at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater  County went above and beyond, including, from left, Registered Respiratory Specialist Staci Smith, ER Registered Nurse Shelly Lloyd, and Medical/Surgical Registered Nurse Stephanie Harford. ICU Registered Nurse Afton Smith assisted. 

“I’m pretty sure (Lloyd) saved my life that day with her caring and advice,” DuPape said. “Literally, everything she did was above and beyond.”

She wasn’t the only one.

Stephanie Hartford, a medical/surgical unit nurse, was working in the ICU that day. “Everything about her is above and beyond,” DuPape said. “She made me feel as if I was the most important patient in the hospital. My level of anxiety about being up there was unbearable, but her personality and level of care made me relax and feel comfortable.”

He praised ICU Nurse Afton Smith. “Everything she does is above and beyond and professional,” he said. “I felt very well taken care of.”

Staci Smith, a registered respiratory therapist, is also on his list. She took care of the family’s contact tracing, checked in on him often and updated Nichole DuPape daily while he was in ICU.

“She was not even assigned to me,” he said. “She took her time to come see me and talk with me and reassure me that things were going the way they should. She even called my wife to keep her updated – all above and beyond.”

“I know there are some nurses who are just doing their job,” he said. “This wasn’t the case. I would like to thank the hospital and these amazing people for taking such good care of me and just for being the people that they are.”

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