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CLCHD and CRMC concerned with rise in COVID cases and hospitalizations

Published: Jun. 2, 2021 at 6:14 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 6:17 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The weather is nice and people are out and about, there’s no question that it’s summer in the Capital City. As the community prepares for what’s in store, positive COVID cases and hospitalizations are rising again, and health experts are concerned.

“This morning alone we’ve already had 30 cases by 10 o’clock. So that is really concerning because we’re going the wrong way,” said Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department Executive Director, Kathy Emmons.

Emmons said CLCHD wants the community to be able to enjoy the summer and be together, but that a rise in COVID cases impacts everyone.

“It’s not just oh look, we have a positive case, it ripples throughout the whole community. It impacts our workforce, it impacts our customer bases, it impacts our businesses, which impacts our economy.”

Two businesses, the Cheyenne Animal Shelter and the Cheyenne Family YMCA, both had to close this week after staff tested positive for COVID-19. Emmons said the YMCA closing is a perfect example of the impacts the virus can have on the community.

“We ended up closing down the childcare facilities, which means people can’t go to work, because they have to stay home and take care of their kids. We closed down the activities, which means people can’t go do their fitness things that they want to do.”

Emmons said one of the best ways the community can help stop the spread of COVID-19 is by getting vaccinated.

“The reality is, we know that the thing that will slow this down and stop it eventually is if people get vaccinated, and I know there are people who don’t want to hear it, but that’s just the reality, that’s the science, that’s where we’re at.”

Not only are cases on the rise, but so are hospitalizations at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.

“Right now we’re running somewhere between 15 and 20 patients a day in the hospital, which is a definite uptick. Not very long ago we were in low single digits and even had days where we had no patients,” said CRMC Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jeffrey Chapman.

Dr. Chapman said as of Wednesday, CRMC had 16 COVID related patients. Six are in the Intensive Care Unit and four of the six are on ventilators.

Dr. Chapman said one of his main concerns is the age group of the patients they are currently treating for COVID-19. He said the majority of patients are in the 40-60 age range. The majority of patients they were treating for COVID-19 in the past, had been 70-or-older.

“I don’t want anybody to be sick and I don’t want anybody to die but also it puts a stress on the hospital and our ability, if we get to the really high numbers like we were in December and January, it puts a stress on our ability to take care of people who have non-COVID related health concerns.”

Dr. Chapman said he’s confident the CRMC staff will step up if they need to, but hopes the community can do its part to stop the spread before it gets any worse.

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