health

A vaccine against the virus behind COVID-19 offers the only certain return to normalcy. Even so, misinformation and conspiracy theories abound – and a vaccine hasn’t even been developed yet. It’s an issue people have been trying to combat for other vaccines that do exist. Colorado researchers are taking an interesting approach to bridge the gap.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

For Dr. Lori Drumm, the trouble began after she cancelled a rodeo in rural Deer Lodge, Mont.

Mike Gatewood and Erin McDaniel

As COVID-19 puts stress on the country's healthcare system, Wyoming medical workers are heading to overwhelmed places with high amounts of cases to help out. Sheridan VA Health System nurses are being sent on two-week stints to veteran and community facilities. LPNs Mike Gatewood and Erin McDaniel, who work at VA satellite clinics in the state, speak about the toll COVID-19 took at a nursing home for veterans in Maryland.

Casper College's Facebook


Wyoming has seven community colleges - and each one is preparing for the fall in its own way.

Wyoming PBS

At a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Mark Gordon extended statewide public health orders through August 15 following weeks of increasing COVID-19 cases in the state.

In comparison to other states though, Gordon said Wyoming is faring well.

Meatpacking plants across the Mountain West and the country are under intense scrutiny as they continue to face COVID-19 outbreaks.


This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

A physician based in Missoula, Mont., has a message for libertarian-minded skeptics of the pandemic – cowboy up and mask up.

 


A Utah-based company called Domo is showing public health agencies in the Mountain West where their COVID-19 transmission risk is coming from. Among other things, the service uses cell phone location data to identify which counties and states visitors are coming from, and pairs it with data about how bad the local COVID-19 outbreak is there. Public health officials in Southwest Colorado say the tool has shown that at the moment, the most active people in the area are people normally based in Texas, followed by people usually based in Arizona. 

There’s a high demand for contact tracers across the nation. One university in the Mountain West is in the process of training 85 college students to help fill the gap once classes resume in the fall. 

Northern Arapaho Tribe Finalizing Re-Opening Plans

Jul 27, 2020

The Wind River Reservation has been under a strict stay-at-home order since April, requiring non-essential tribal offices and both tribes' casino operations to remain closed to the public. In a Monday morning online address, Northern Arapaho Business Council Chairman Lee Spoonhunter announced plans to begin re-opening.

Updated at 6:50 p.m. ET

President Trump on Wednesday placed much of the blame for the swell in coronavirus cases on recent demonstrations against racism and police brutality, ignoring in large part his administration's push to reopen the national economy before the virus had been fully contained.

A large group of outbreak specialists say there’s been a problematic silencing of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during this pandemic. 

COVID-19 cases are still increasing around the Mountain West, and wait times to get test results are getting longer for many.


Courtesy of the Brown-Howell family

 

Update: Mr. Brown's body has been transported from Salt Lake City to Riverton, and the Brown-Howell family has received a loan from the Northern Arapaho Tribe that will cover transportation costs. The family is still accepting donations through its GoFundMe page to cover other funeral expenses.

The extended Brown-Howell family of Riverton lost a loved one to COVID-19 this month. 73-year-old John Nelson Brown II was hospitalized with the illness in Fremont County in June. Due to his age and an underlying health condition, he was life-flighted to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City for specialized treatment. He died there on July 10, after spending nearly three weeks on a ventilator.

In addition to mourning their father and grandfather, five of Brown's family members have also tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks. Some have been hospitalized or quarantined and are unable to work. The family is struggling to afford funeral expenses, and they are asking for the community's help.


Colorado is the latest state in the Mountain West to issue a mask requirement, joining Nevada and New Mexico. 

Surgical Face Mask by NurseTogether is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

In the past month, Wyoming saw 700 new COVID-19 cases. At a press conference Gov. Mark Gordon said this is partly the result of people not following social distancing recommendations during the fourth of July holiday.

The move came without much warning. 

“We were stunned,” Dr. Christine Hahn, the Idaho State epidemiologist, told the radio show Idaho Matters


Laramie County Community College

As the fall semester nears and COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the state, Laramie County Community College (LCCC) is planning a largely virtual return to school.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Some communities in the Mountain West are again facing testing delays and shortages as the number of COVID-19 cases reach record highs across the country. 

Wyoming Department of Health

The Wyoming Children's Health Insurance Program, also known as Kid Care CHIP, will transition from a private insurance company to the processes in place already for Wyoming Medicaid. 

This means it will be taken over by the Wyoming Department of Health. In the past, a private insurance company administered the program. 

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Lots of wildfire smoke in the summer can lead to more flu outbreaks in the winter, according to a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Environment International

Screenshot: https://twitter.com/GovernorGordon/status/1280618114661658629

In recent weeks, new cases of COVID-19 have been on the rise in Wyoming. On Monday, July 6, the state saw its largest single day increase since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic: 37 new confirmed cases.

Care19

Contact tracing is one of the most difficult aspects of fighting COVID-19, but a new state-backed app could assist Wyoming officials in that effort.

There’s significant evidence that the novel coronavirus can spread through tiny particles that linger in the air. Thanks to a University of Colorado chemistry professor, now there’s a free tool to measure those risks.

Montana VA Health Care System

A new partnership will allow veterans enrolled in the Montana and Sheridan VA Health Care Systems will provide veterans access to an onsite VA nurse  when they are hospitalized at the Billings Clinic and St. Vincent Healthcare.

The nurses will be connected with veterans once they are admitted to the hospitals and help to arrange things like follow-up appointments and physical therapy during their hospitalization and after discharge.

stjohnsfoundation.health

St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson Hole is raising prices for inpatient and outpatient services.

The eight percent increase was approved by St. John's Health's board of trustees in an effort to align prices with similar Mountain West medical facilities. Chief Financial Officer John Kren said the hospital has raised prices over the past couple of years. 


Dr. Bret Frey is an emergency room physician in Reno, Nevada, and he likens working in health care right now to fighting in a war. 

"I always thought that there was a good chance that World War III would happen in some form in my lifetime, I just didn't appreciate it was going to come in the form of a virus," Frey says.

Researchers have released a new guide for parents about how to keep their kids from being recruited by extremists online.

 

For some people of faith, gathering together is a central tenet of church. You bolster each other's beliefs, sing communally and feel the transcendence of the moment.

Kamila Kudelska

With the Fourth of July holiday weekend fast approaching, Park County health officials are worried because of a recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

Well into June, Park County had just two cases of COVID-19. But over the last week and a half, that number quickly jumped to nearly 50 cases.

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