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

Memorial Hospital Of Sweetwater County Opens Second COVID-19 Unit

Two nurses in protective gear surround a patient on a hospital bed surrounded by equipment.
Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County
ICU nurses Kimber Burger, left, and Krindell Shepard can be seen through the protective glass of an ICU suite Tuesday afternoon attending to a COVID-19 patient.

Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County has opened a second COVID unit in its same day surgery department. This comes about a week after the hospital announced it was canceling elective surgeries due to increase of COVID-10 patients and staff shortages.

"Recently, with the Delta variant surge, our hospitalized patients with COVID-19 are requiring longer stays and more intensive care than we see with many other illnesses," said MHSC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Melinda Poyer. "With these variants, people are getting significantly sicker in a shorter amount of time. It is hard to predict which patients will feel symptoms no worse than a cold, and which ones will progress and end up in intensive care, particularly now that it is affecting the younger age groups so heavily. In the last two weeks, we have, unfortunately, had to admit patients in their 30s, 40s and 50s for intensive care."

The decision to proceed with the next step of the hospital's 'COVID-19 Surge Capacity Plan' came as the hospital was overwhelmed with COVID patients over the long weekend. There were 19 COVID patients by Sunday morning and COVID-19 accounted for 73 percent of all patients in the hospital. Of those, about 90 percent were unvaccinated.

The second unit opens as the hospital is unlikely to be able to transfer the most critical patients to facilities out of state as they usually would. That's because those hospitals are also full. Officials stress it would not be such a dire situation if more people were vaccinated.

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