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Wyoming’s second largest hospital down to only one open ICU bed

(File photo, Trevor T. Trujillo; Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, which is the second largest hospital in Wyoming, had only one open intensive care unit bed available as COVID-19 hospitalizations across the Cowboy State rose on Wednesday, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.

Nine hospitals had either zero or only one available ICU bed open, including:

  • Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (1 ICU bed open)
  • Campbell County Memorial Hospital (0)
  • Cheyenne Veterans Affairs Medical Center (1)
  • Cody Regional Health (1)
  • Powell Valley Healthcare (1)
  • SageWest Health Care-Lander (0)
  • South Lincoln Medical Center (1)
  • Star Valley Health (1)
  • Washakie Medical Center (1)

The state’s largest hospital, the Wyoming Medical Center, had eight of its 22 ICE beds open on Wednesday, according to the WDH. ICU beds are not exclusively used to treat COVID-19 patients, but give a sense of how much strain on resources hospitals are experiencing.

COVID-19 hospitalizations rose to 194 on Wednesday, up from 190 on Tuesday. Hospitalizations are still down from the most recent peak of 233 COVID-19 patients seen on September 8.

39 of the COVID-19 patients on Wednesday were at the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center. 31 were at the Wyoming Medical Center.

With hospitals dealing with a strain on resources, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon’s office announced Tuesday that Gordon had activated the Wyoming National Guard to provide assistance.

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 in a Tuesday press release.

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.