CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Department of Health announced Wednesday that Governor Mark Gordon is allocating federal funding to help address staffing challenges at Wyoming hospitals and healthcare facilities that are dealing with a surge in COVID-19 cases and patients.
The funding will be available to help provide staffing relief, support existing healthcare staff and secure traveling medical staff.
Gordon has allocated $20 million that healthcare facilities can use on a discretionary basis to help stabilize staffing levels.
“The funding is available to fill staffing shortages, provide hazard pay, and strengthen recruitment efforts for the state’s existing healthcare workforce,” the WDH said.
$10 million will be available to privately owned hospitals and long-term care facilities for traveling medical staff through a contract with the Wyoming Hospital Association.
“Nonprofit and county-owned hospitals that have secured their own traveling medical staff will continue to be eligible for 100% reimbursement through FEMA funding,” the WDH said.
Gordon will also be looking at other ways to support healthcare providers during the surge. That could include utilizing Wyoming National Guard members.
“Wyoming’s healthcare system and healthcare workers in every community are feeling the strain of this surge,” Gordon said. “We need to recognize our healthcare workers’ commitment to caring for our neighbors during the pandemic. They are working extra-long hours and at times having to cover for sick colleagues. These are very stressful times for all of us, but particularly those in the healthcare industry. This is a means to thank them and to try to make sure we can keep them on the job.”
Wyoming had a total of 230 hospitalized patients on Tuesday, which is approaching peak hospitalization during the pandemic. Peak hospitalizations occurred on Nov. 30, 2020, when there were 247 COVID patients in Wyoming hospitals.
“Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that those who are fully-vaccinated have a dramatically reduced risk of requiring hospitalization for a coronavirus infection,” the WDH adds. “To find a vaccine location near you, visit vaccines.gov or call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline at 1-800-232-0233.”
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.