State Hospitalizations Doubled In Last Week. State Health Officials Are Worried

Oct 6, 2020

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A record 44 people are hospitalized for COVID-19 in the state as of Tuesday, October 6. State officials and health experts have concerns about the pressure this could put Wyoming's small hospitals.

The number of hospitalizations has doubled in the past seven days. In the same period of time, the state has broken three new records for hospitalizations. This comes as active COVID-19 cases are increasing sharply as well. The majority of the patients are at the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper and Sheridan Memorial Hospital.

State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist said she is very worried that the state's hospitals will be pushed beyond their limit.

"We are seeing that happen right now in at least one neighbor state. In Montana, hospitals are being challenged," said Harrist. "The largest hospital in Billings, where many Wyoming patients are frequently treated, has been forced to add beds in another older building and has been transferring some patients back to Wyoming for care."

Harrist said most Wyoming hospitals are small and have limited capacity for critically ill patients.

"They have patients who need help for other things besides COVID-19," she said. "Any of our hospitals being overwhelmed would be a serious problem for anyone in a community who has a medical emergency."

Harrist said community spread is happening at UW, community colleges, K-12 schools and social gatherings. She says people need to social distance and mask up in order to help keep hospitals functioning.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Kamila Kudelska, at kkudelsk@uwyo.edu.