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37 more deaths push Wyoming’s COVID-19 death toll to 955

Healthcare workers at the Wyoming Medical Center Respiratory Screening Clinic wave to first responders from several Natrona County agencies during a brief parade around the WMC campus on Dec. 0, 2020, in Casper. The parade was organized to show appreciation for healthcare workers during the COVID-19 surge. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City File)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Department of Health reported an additional 37 COVID-19-related deaths among Wyoming residents on Tuesday, September 21.

955 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.

The deaths come as hospitalizations rise across the state and hospitals deal with a shortage of available intensive care unit beds and other resources to care for not only COVID-19 patients, but other critical patients as well.

Hospitalizations dropped under 200 again on Tuesday to 190, according to Wyoming Department of Health data. That is down from 202 on Monday and down from the most recent peak of 233 COVID-19 patients in Wyoming hospitals seen on September 8.

However, with COVID-19 hospitalizations still high, Governor Mark Gordon’s office announced Tuesday that the governor had activated the Wyoming National Guard to assist hospitals dealing with surges in COVID-19 patient numbers.

Six hospitals on Tuesday had zero available intensive care unit beds and three had only one available, according to the WDH.

The governor has called on about 95 Wyoming National Guard soldiers and air service members to state active duty orders. They have been assigned to hospital locations at 24 different locations in 17 Wyoming cities.

“They will serve to augment current hospital and Wyoming Department of Health staff to help ease workloads imposed upon them due to large numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations,” Gordon’s office said.

Responsibilities of guard members will include:

  • Assisting in environmental cleanup in hospital facilities
  • Food and nutrition service
  • COVID-19 screening
  • Managing personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies
  • Other support tasks

Some guard members will also be trained to administer COVID-19 tests.

Members of the Wyoming National Guard called to duty will serve 14- to 30-day rotations with the possibility their orders will be extended up until December 31. The numbers could change based on hospital needs.

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.