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Wyoming hospitals see COVID-19 patient count fall under 200 but ICU beds are running thin


CASPER, Wyo. — The number of COVID-19 patients in Wyoming hospitals fell under 200 again on Tuesday, September 21 but nine hospitals in the state had one or fewer open intensive care unit beds, according to Wyoming Department of Health data.

There were 190 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the Cowboy State on Tuesday, down from 202 on Monday and also down from the most recent peak of 233 COVID-19 patients seen in Wyoming hospitals on September 8.

Six hospitals had zero open ICU beds available, including:

  • Campbell County Memorial Hospital
  • Memorial Hospital Sweetwater County
  • Powell Valley Healthcare
  • SageWest Health Care-Lander
  • Star Valley Health
  • Washakie Medical Center

Three hospitals had only one available ICU bed open on Tuesday:

  • Cheyenne Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • Cody Regional Health
  • South Lincoln Medical Center

The Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, which had 33 COVID-19 patients on Tuesday, had only four of its 25 ICU beds open. The Wyoming Medical Center had 36 COVID-19 patients on Tuesday with eight of its 22 ICU beds available. While ICU beds are not exclusively used to treat COVID-19 patients, when hospitals deal with surges in these patients, that can put a strain on their ability to care for other types of critical-needs patients.

Hospitals finding themselves short-handed will be getting some relief from members of the Wyoming National Guard. Governor Mark Gordon’s office announced Tuesday that the governor had activated the Wyoming National Guard to offer assistance to hospitals dealing with COVID-19 surges.

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 hospitals 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 Delta variant has overwhelmed the medical institutions of states across this country,” Wyoming National Guard Director of Joint Staff Colonel David Pritchett said in the press release from the governor’s office. “Our state is no different with most hospitals at or near capacity. The Soldiers and Airmen of the Wyoming National Guard are proud to jump back in to provide much needed assistance to our communities as we continue to battle the effects of COVID-19.”

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.