health

As hospitals continue to fill up with COVID-19 patients, one major health care provider in the Mountain West announced it’s cutting pay for some of its medical staff.

Countries around the world have now reported more than 1 million coronavirus cases, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow. The respiratory disease has killed more than 51,000 people and is found in at least 181 countries and regions.

The updated numbers come from a coronavirus dashboard created by Johns Hopkins University's Whiting School of Engineering, which tracks the data in near real time.

Most coronavirus patients who end up on ventilators go on to die, according to several small studies from the U.S., China and Europe.

And many of the patients who continue to live can't be taken off the mechanical breathing machines.

"It's very concerning to see how many patients who require ventilation do not make it out of the hospital," says Dr. Tiffany Osborn, a critical care specialist at Washington University in St. Louis who has been caring for coronavirus patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Two days after the top U.S. immunologist warned the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic could surpass 100,000, the Pentagon confirmed on Thursday that it has received a request from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to round up 100,000 body bags from Department of Defense contractors.

Not all Americans can stay home during the pandemic.

Millions of essential workers are showing up for their jobs at warehouses, food processing plants, delivery trucks and grocery checkout lines. Work that is often low-paid, and comes with few protections, is now suddenly much more dangerous.

America has a new appreciation for these workers. Bill Osborn, a dairy clerk at a Giant in La Plata, Md., says he never used to be thanked for his job. Ever.

But now that has changed.

Amid nationwide testing shortages and backlogs, one county in our region is offering COVID-19 tests to everyone. A local couple is bankrolling the effort. And it’s not the usual nostril swab. It’s a blood test. 

Catherine Wheeler

The Sheridan VA Health System has announced it is stopping in-person visits at some of its community clinics.

The Riverton VA clinic has stopped face-to-face visits as of Monday, March 30. Clinics in Afton, Evanston and Casper will do the same starting on Monday, April 6. That's due to concern over the spread of the coronavirus in those communities.

Wyoming Department of Transportation

The call for social distancing in the state is leading many people to the outdoors. But a high number of people are going to the Teton Pass west of Jackson, which is causing some public health concerns.

"With the current restrictions in certain places, we've got an extra amount of traffic that's going on up here. And generally speaking, we're okay with folks that are coming here as long as they're cooperative on our on our safety issues," said John Pistono, a Teton Pass ambassador.

Updated at 7:29 p.m. ET

President Trump says he may consider grounding some or all flights as a coronavirus pandemic mitigation measure but also said on Wednesday he wants to apply the lightest touch possible in managing the disaster.

To stop the spread of the coronavirus, health officials have a favorite refrain: After being in a city or region where there have been a lot of COVID-19 cases, spend 14 days in quarantine even if you feel perfectly fine — don't leave your house. Coming from New York? 14-day quarantine. Arriving in Hawaii?

Just being homeless puts you at greater risk for getting and spreading COVID-19. And several homeless residents have tested positive for the disease around the Mountain West, from Denver to Las Vegas. That’s forcing community leaders and shelter owners to take precautions.

 


By the middle of March, the problem was undeniable: America didn't have enough ventilators for the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the next two weeks, U.S. manufacturers worked frantically to boost output in an effort that has been compared to the mobilization of industry during World War II. Medical companies paired up with automakers to increase their production to previously unthinkable levels.

Public Domain

Public health officials in Campbell County are warning the spread of the coronavirus in the community is likely wider than confirmed cases show.

There are five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Campbell County as of Wednesday evening, but the local public health department says it's monitoring 159 individuals who may have the disease. Those people and their families are in home-isolation.

Updated March 31, 8:25 p.m. ET

A few months ago, it may have seemed silly to wear a face mask during a trip to the grocery store. And in fact, the mainline public health message in the U.S. from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been that most people don't need to wear masks.

But as cases of the coronavirus have skyrocketed, there's new thinking about the benefits that masks could offer in slowing the spread. The CDC says it is now reviewing its policy and may be considering a recommendation to encourage broader use.

Walmart plans to start checking workers' temperatures as they clock in and to offer them gloves and masks, the company said on Tuesday as it announced a series of new measures to safeguard against the coronavirus.

State of Wyoming

State and health officials say the number of coronavirus cases will continue to rise, but Wyoming still lacks the resources to test everyone with symptoms.

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

America must brace for 100,000 or more people to die in the coming months in the coronavirus pandemic, the White House's response team warned Tuesday.

"As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top immunologist helping to steer White House policy on the disaster. "No one is denying the fact that we are going through a very, very difficult time right now."

Experts have said that testing is essential to controlling the coronavirus pandemic. Tell us here about your experiences trying to access testing for the coronavirus. We'll use some of your comments for a story on our website and may call you for an interview to air on the radio.

When infectious pathogens have threatened the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been front and center. During the H1N1 flu of 2009, the Ebola crisis in 2014 and the mosquito-borne outbreak of Zika in 2015, the CDC has led the federal response.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

President Trump warned Americans on Monday to prepare for more disruption and death as he and other authorities extended mitigation procedures for several more weeks amid the widening coronavirus disaster.

Trump acknowledged on Sunday that his goal for a return to normalcy by Easter won't happen, and he extended the federal guidelines for social distancing and mitigation to April 30. He said on Monday that the pandemic will take longer than he hoped to abate.

As the U.S. Forest Service prepares for the wildfire season, it must also confront COVID-19.

Already the agency's put a stop to prescribed burning. And it says it will continue fire suppression and other activities with guidance from the CDC.

Jake Billington has worked at the livestock auction at the Twin Falls Livestock Commission in southern Idaho for 28 years.


Two weeks ago, President Trump entered the White House briefing room and announced an aggressive plan to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Stay home for 15 days, he told Americans. Avoid groups of more than 10 people. "If everyone makes this change, or these critical changes, and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus," he said.

President Trump is repeating his claim that the United States is doing more testing for the coronavirus than any other country.

"We have more cases because we're doing far more testing than anybody in the world," the president said in a White House briefing on Sunday.

The U.S has ramped up testing, but still lags other countries like Italy and South Korea, when it comes to testing on a per capita basis.

Updated 8:13 p.m. ET

President Trump said on Sunday that federal guidelines urging Americans to social distance to slow the spread of the coronavirus will remain in place for another month and could last until June.

Under the recommendations, the Trump administration is imploring people to avoid restaurants, bars and other situations involving more than 10 people and restrict traveling to trips deemed essential.

The nation's leading expert on infectious diseases and member of the White House's coronavirus task force says the pandemic could kill 100,000 to 200,000 Americans and infect millions.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said based on modeling of the current pace of the coronavirus' spread in the U.S., "between 100,000 and 200,000" people may die from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Updated at 3:52 p.m. ET

The number of coronavirus deaths in the United States has sharply accelerated in recent days, now exceeding 2,000, marking a doubling of the fatality rate in the span of two days.

The World Health Organization says the virus that causes COVID-19 doesn't seem to linger in the air or be capable of spreading through the air over distances of more than about 3 feet.

But at least one expert in virus transmission said it's way too soon to know that.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Gov. Mark Gordon said Friday that he's extending three statewide health orders an additional two weeks. Gordon made the announcement after consulting with the State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist.

Why It Takes So Long To Get Most COVID-19 Test Results

Mar 28, 2020

After a slow start, testing for COVID-19 has begun to ramp up in recent weeks. Giant commercial labs have jumped into the effort, drive-up testing sites have been established in some places, and new types of tests have been approved under emergency rules set by the Food and Drug Administration.

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