CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) report that a record 105 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized across the state as of Tuesday, Oct. 27. Wyoming saw more than 100 patients hospitalized due to COVID for the first time on Sunday.
COVID hospitalizations have sharply increased throughout the month of October. There were 27 COVID patients in Wyoming hospitals as of Oct. 1, according to the WDH.
As of Tuesday, 57 of 122 available adult intensive care unit beds across the state were occupied by COVID or other patients, according to the WDH data. While that leaves 65 ICU beds open across the state, some individual hospitals were at or near capacity on Tuesday.
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The WDH data shows that all seven of Campbell County Memorial Hospital’s adult ICU beds were occupied on Tuesday. Only one of the Wyoming Medical Center’s 14 available adult ICU rooms was open, according to the WDH data.
Four of the 15 available beds at the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center were open, the WDH data shows.
Hospitals self-report such data to the WDH. Hospitals may have the ability to offer ICU-level care to more patients than are listed on the WDH’s COVID-19 Wyoming Hospital Capacity site, as is the case with the Wyoming Medical Center.
WMC interim CEO Dr. James Bleicher said on Monday that the 14 ICU beds available at the WMC as listed by the WDH refers to the hospital’s standard ICU unit. The WMC has a special COVID unit which is able to offer either expanded ICU-level care or more beds generally depending on the severity of the illnesses of the patients the WMC is seeing.
While the WMC, like other hospitals, has been seeing record numbers of patients and expect to see those numbers continue to trend upward, Bleicher said on Monday that the WMC had been securing traveling nurses and were working to ensure the hospital could accommodate and additional 30-40 patients.
However, with all but three states seeing effective reproduction rates of the virus that indicate COVID infections will continue to spread, hospitals across the country could find themselves increasingly struggling to find staff needed to accommodate a growing number of COVID patients in coming weeks and months.
“Nurses will also become harder to come by as we get further in the winter, as all these other states are using every resource they have,” Bleicher said Monday. “When it is [surging across] the whole country, nobody is going to have extra resources.”
While ICU units may be close to capacity in some Wyoming hospitals, most ventilators in the state were not reportedly in use on Tuesday. The WDH show that 164 of 182 available ventilators, which are sometimes used to treat COVID patients, were open on Tuesday.
Only Weston County Health Services, which has two total ventilators, had no extra available ventilators on Tuesday, according to the WDH. The WMC had the highest number of ventilators in use at five, but had 13 ventilators still open.
Cody Regional Health had the second highest number of ventilators in use at four with an additional eight available, according to the WDH data.
Since hospitals self-report data to the WDH, State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist has said that the WDH data about hospital resources and COVID-19 hospitalizations is best used to track trends in overall COVID hospitalizations or resource availability.
Harrist has said that the data should be considered an approximation of the exact numbers since hospitals self-report the data and the actual statewide numbers could vary slightly.
The Wyoming Department of Health provide data about the number of COVID patients in specific hospitals in the state, but caution that the data is self-reported by hospitals and that “non-general acute hospitals (e.g., rehabilitation hospitals) may report COVID-19 hospitalizations but these data do not always reflect statewide capacity issues.”
Further data from the WDH is available below:
The Latest Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health:
What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.
If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.
Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.
For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email: email@example.com
- Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.