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Casper area leaders declare April 18–22 as ‘Casper-Natrona County Health Department Week’

Wyoming Medical Center hospitalist Dr. Andy Dunn, Casper-Natrona County Health Department spokesperson Hailey Bloom, and C-NCHD executive director Anna Kinder finish paperwork before transporting part of the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines to the Wyoming Medical Center at the C-NCHD building in central Casper on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City File)

CASPER, Wyo. — Natrona County, the City of Casper and the City of Mills are recognizing April 18-22 as “Casper-Natrona County Health Department Week,” the department stated in a press release Monday.

The Casper-Natrona County Health Department “has made many outstanding contributions during the last 68 years that have helped our community and continue to prevent disease, promote health and protect our citizens,” a proclamation signed by Casper Mayor Ray Pacheco states.

The department said it has provided community health and wellness services in the area since 1954, including distributing vaccines to help prevent influenza, hepatitis, pertussis, norovirus and other diseases. Clinic nurses provide maternal health services and the department also offers health inspections and other environmental health guidance to places such as day cares, restaurants, schools, pools, medical facilities, hotels and tattoo studios.

The department also focuses on emergency preparedness as one of its primary functions, though the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted some of its normal work. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the CNCHD’s “staff has worked tirelessly to test, educate and eventually vaccinate the public.”

“CNCHD officials worked closely with local leadership to keep our community open and safe through what has perhaps been the most world’s most challenging period since World War II,” the press release states.

The department has administered 18,245 COVID-19 tests since the start of the pandemic. The CNCHD began administering COVID-19 vaccines on Dec. 16, 2020 and has administered 28,907 vaccines.

“As CNCHD battled the pandemic, staff members still had typical non-COVID responsibilities that are critical to Natrona County,” the press release adds. “In total, from July 2020 to June 2021, it administered 32,677 vaccines, including 1,827 flu shots and 1,361 different shots to uninsured children.”

“It conducted 636 HIV tests, placed 55 Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives, and saw 914 family planning clinic visits. More than 50 cancer patients benefited from patient navigation services, and 70 children were provided with special health services for conditions like cleft palates and heart conditions.”

The department also performed over 1,100 environmental health inspections in the period between July 2020 and June 2021. CNCHD staff attended 108 emergency preparedness meetings and also provided training to 454 people on topics ranging from suicide prevention to binge drinking and drug abuse. The CNCHD said that “these numbers are all substantially lower than an ordinary, non-pandemic year.”

CNCHD Public Information Officer Hailey Bloom said that Natrona County, Mills and Casper’s declaration of the week as Casper-Natrona County Health Department Week is important to the department.

“This recognition is so meaningful, because those are the people we serve,” Bloom said. “Casper, Mills and Natrona County are our communities that we live in, so caring for our neighbors makes our hard work worth it.”