CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Department of Health reported Thursday that Wyoming hospitals had 203 COVID-19 patients, crossing the 200 mark for the first time since Dec. 10, 2020.
In 2020, Wyoming hospitals had over 200 patients for the first time on November 14.
In 2021, Wyoming has been dealing with a surge since late July and hospitalizations are far higher than they were at the same point in 2020.
The 203 COVID-19 patients in Wyoming hospitals on Sept. 2, 2021 is 1,350% higher than on the same date last year, when Wyoming hospitals only had 14 COVID-19 patients.
The Cheyenne Regional Medical Center had 46 COVID-19 patients on Thursday and the Wyoming Medical Center had 44, according to the WDH.
Four hospitals had no unoccupied intensive care unit (ICU) beds on Thursday, including:
- Campbell County Memorial Hospital
- Cody Regional Health
- Ivinson Memorial Hospital (Laramie)
- SageWest Health Care-Lander
Five hospitals had only one open ICU bed, according to the WDH. While ICU beds are not exclusively used to treat COVID-19 patients, when hospitals deal with surges in COVID-19 patients, that can put a strain on their ability to care for other types of critical-needs patients.
In 2020, hospitalizations remained mostly under 20 for most of September before climbing sharply throughout October and November, reaching a peak of 247 on Nov. 30, 2020.
However, hospitals are facing difficulties in early September this year as surges in COVID-19 patients put a strain on healthcare workers and hospital resources.
The Wyoming Medical Center has again implemented visitor restrictions. Other hospitals around the state are also dealing with surges and are implementing visitor restrictions or halting elective surgeries.
The Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County, which has put a pause on elective surgeries, reported this week that hospitals as far away as Texas have reached out, asking whether Memorial Hospital had the capacity to accept transfer patients as COVID-19 continues to put stress on hospitals around the country.
Hospitals have been reporting that a majority of COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated. Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County said this week that 98% of its COVID-19 patients have not been fully vaccinated. The WMC says that 90% of its patients have not been fully vaccinated, citing data from August 1-14.
The WMC said that during that period, most patients were 20-60 years old, younger than the type of COVID-19 patient that tended to wind up in the hospital prior to the surge associated with the rise in Delta variant cases.
The WDH reported 23 additional COVID-19-related deaths on Tuesday amid the rising hospitalization numbers. 858 Wyoming residents have reportedly died after contracting the virus since the pandemic began. These are deaths that have COVID-19 listed as either the underlying or primary cause of death or as a contributing cause of death, WDH explains.
As COVID-19 surges and students return to school, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department said on Wednesday that there is a potential for workforce shortages with students likely to become quarantined from COVID-19 exposure.
“The Delta variant is substantially more contagious than previous variants, and younger populations, including school-aged children, are showing more significant symptoms that require hospitalizations,” the C-NCHD said. “Vaccinations remain the most effective protection against COVID-19, and anyone over the age of 12 is eligible to receive one now. It’s up to all of us to protect each other, especially those who can’t be vaccinated.”
The Wyoming Department of Health provides COVID-19 case, variant, death, testing, hospital and vaccine data online. The department also shares information about how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.