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Ten Wyoming hospitals down to one or fewer ICU beds; only 5 of 47 open at two biggest hospitals


CASPER, Wyo. — Ten Wyoming hospitals had one or fewer available intensive care unit (ICU) beds on Wednesday as hospitals across the state dealt with a total of 208 COVID-19 patients, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.

The state’s two largest hospitals — the Wyoming Medical Center and the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center — were also running low on available ICU beds. The WMC had three of 22 total ICU beds available. The CRMC had two of its 25 ICU beds open.

The following hospitals had zero available ICU beds:

  • Campbell County Memorial Hospital
  • Cody Regional Health
  • Memorial Hospital Converse County
  • Powell Valley Healthcare
  • SageWest Health Care-Lander
  • South Lincoln Medical Center

The following hospitals were down to one open ICU bed on Wednesday:

  • Cheyenne Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • Memorial Hospital Sweetwater County
  • St. Johns Medical Center
  • Washakie Medical Center

Across the state, 107 of 143 ICU beds were occupied on Wednesday, according to the WDH. 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.

Ventilators, which are sometimes used to treat COVID-19 patients experiencing severe conditions, have been a less strained hospital resource in recent months. Hospitals all had over half of their ventilators available on Wednesday, with the exception of the Wyoming Medical Center.

The WMC had 15 of its 24 ventilators in use on Wednesday.

The 208 overall COVID-19 hospitalizations on Wednesday was down two from Tuesday. However, it has been rare during the COVID-19 pandemic for Wyoming to have over 200 COVID-19 patients in hospitals.

That first instance of this occurred in November 2020, when a fall surge in COVID-19 cases was climbing. Peak hospitalizations in 2020 occurred on November 30, when there were 247 COVID-19 patients in Wyoming hospitals. After that point, hospitalizations started to trend downward.

After Dec. 10, 2020, there were never more than 200 COVID-19 patients in Wyoming hospitals until Sept. 2, 2021.

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases began in July. Peak hospitalizations so far amid the current surge occurred on September 8, when there were 233 COVID-19 patients in Wyoming hospitals.

With hospitals dealing with high numbers of COVID-19 patients, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon’s office announced on September 21 that members of the Wyoming National Guard were being called on to assist hospitals across the state.

In addition to strains on available ICU beds and on healthcare workers, some Wyoming hospitals have reported other shortages. Sweetwater County Public Health said on September 23 that the supply of oxygen concentrators in the county was running low.

Oxygen concentrators are devices used to deliver oxygen to people with breathing-related disorders. Kim White with Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County said in the press release from Sweetwater County Public Health that the hospital had sent home over 50 patients on oxygen since the start of September.

Sweetwater County Public Health said that it was expecting an order of oxygen concentrators last Thursday and again this week.

“Unfortunately, these orders will not bring supplies to normal levels, but we are working to obtain more,” Sweetwater County Public Health said.

Sweetwater County Public Health said that it was also reaching out to the state to secure more supplies if needed, but that oxygen concentrators are scarce across the country due to the high number of COVID-19 patients in need of oxygen treatment.

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.