Hospitals treating fewer COVID patients

By: 
Joshua Wolfson with the Casper Star-Tribune, from the Wyoming News Exchange

Hospitals treating fewer COVID patients

 

By Joshua Wolfson

Casper Star-Tribune

Via Wyoming News Exchange

 

CASPER — On Nov. 30, during the height of the fall COVID-19 surge, Wyoming hospitals were caring for nearly 250 patients infected with the coronavirus. 

The state’s largest hospital — Wyoming Medical Center — was treating nearly 70 patients. Cheyenne Regional Medical Center was caring for more than 50. While they still had a few ICU beds open, other hospitals in the state did not. 

Since that time, hospitalizations have steadily declined in the Equality State. As of Friday, the state’s hospitals were treating a combined 157 patients infected with COVID-19, according to Wyoming Department of Health figures. 

Wyoming Medical Center was caring for 28 patients. Cheyenne Regional had admitted 30. 

Still, while hospitalizations for COVID-19 are down from their late November peak, they are considerably higher than they were prior to the surge. At that time, Wyoming hospitals were treating only 10 and 20 patients on any given day. 

Hospitals are still struggling to keep up with patient demand from the pandemic, said Wyoming Hospital Association President Eric Boley. 

“They are still stressed,” he said. “They are still in the heat of the battle against this virus.” 

ICU space remains a challenge at several facilities. Campbell County Medical Hospital in Gillette was out of ICU beds on Friday, health department fi gures show. So was SageWest’s Lander hospital. And only seven of Wyoming Medical Center’s 20 ICU beds were open. 

The rise and subsequent fall in hospitalizations mirrored a similar trend in cases of COVID-19, which began to surge in mid-September in Wyoming and only started to fall in late November. At one time, there were more than 10,000 active confirmed cases in the state. Now, there are less than 2,000. 

“The thing I’m seeing is more and more of our folks are following the guidance,” Boley said. “I think we have more people wearing masks.” 

Indeed, a majority of Wyoming counties instituted local mask orders in mid-November. At the beginning of this month, Gov. Mark Gordon announced a statewide mask mandate along with stricter regulations on gatherings and bar and restaurant hours.

The next few weeks will be critical, Boley said. With Christmas and New Year’s coming, it remains to be seen whether holiday gatherings will prompt a new surge in cases. 

Since the pandemic emerged here in March, Wyoming had recorded more than 40,000 COVID-19 cases. To date, 351 deaths have been announced.

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