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Stories, Stats, Impacts: Wyoming Public Media is here to keep you current on the news surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Natrona County Hospital Staff Strained As Wyoming's COVID-19 Hospitalizations Go Up

The outside of the Wyoming Medical Center, with a sign pointing to the Emergency room and Main Entrance
Wyoming Medical Center

Since July, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has risen. Now, health care facilities are starting to feel the strain once again.

Natrona County Health Officer Doctor Mark Dowell said as of Friday, Aug. 20, 38 patients were hospitalized at Wyoming Medical Center with the virus. It's the largest hospital in the state.

"We have had some people die from COVID-19 in the last ten days. There is a huge amount of COVID in the county, in the outpatient area. We have reopened our respiratory testing clinics. There are a lot of kids with COVID that I know of, it's crazy," said Dowell.

Additionally, the emergency room has seen more than ten people a day sick enough with COVID to seek medical attention.

On top of that, the hospital is short-staffed since many employees have been exposed to the virus, and must be isolated. This is happening in hospitals around the state. The majority of people hospitalized have not been vaccinated.

"To watch these people get so sick and maybe have long-term health care problems [and] was preventable. There's a tool out there to use to keep society open and to help us get where we need to go. And it's not being used by some people. And that is really frustrating to me," he said.

The few vaccinated people hospitalized have associated medical conditions and are on drugs that can weaken their immune response to the vaccine. This is also the group that will get vaccine boosters so as to avoid hospitalizations.

Dowell said vaccinations can stop this increase of hospitalization, and make things more manageable for health care workers.

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