CHEYENNE, Wy. (Wyoming News Now) As of 10:00 am April 1st, there are 130 reported cases of Covid-19 in Wyoming, of which 31 people have recovered.
There are likely many, many more cases in Wyoming.
In response to the disease's spread, most visitors will no longer be allowed inside Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.
In a news release sent to outlets, CRMC said the new rules will take effect at 6 a.m. on April 2 as part of its ongoing effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the hospital and community.
“We understand that this policy may cause added stress for our patients and their families,” said Tim Thornell, CRMC’s president and chief executive officer. “But in the face of this growing pandemic, we must do everything we can to protect our patients, the health of our community and the health of our providers and employees.”
A limited number of visitors will be allowed in CRMC’s pediatric and maternity areas and for patients at the end of life or who need a caregiver due to a medical or behavioral disability.
Below are specific exceptions to the policy:
• Maternity: One support person is allowed per 24-hour period.
• Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Two parents or guardians are allowed per 24-hour period.
• Pediatric patients (under the age of 18): two parents or guardians are allowed per 24-hour period.
• Patients with a medical or behavioral disability: One caregiver is allowed per 24-hour period.
• End-of-life patients: Two visitors are allowed.
• Outpatient procedures or surgery: If necessary, one person is allowed to accompany a patient for support
• No visitors under the age of 16 are allowed. (If a patient comes to the emergency department with a minor child, the child will be allowed to remain with the patient if there is no other family member present to care for the child.)
• Visitors with a cold, flu-like symptoms or a fever are not allowed in the hospital unless they are seeking medical care.
Other exceptions may also be allowed on a case-by-case basis.
The current screening and visitation policy will continue for patients with clinic appointments in the medical office building next to the hospital.
Details of the new visitation policy are posted on CRMC’s website, cheyenneregional.org.
In Wyoming, most of the reported cases of Covid-19 can be traced back to contact with someone else with a known case. However, Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and epidemiologist with the Wyoming Department of Health, said some cases can’t be traced back to known sources.
“There are likely more illnesses than we have been able to track. We believe there is local community spread in Wyoming,” Dr. Harrist said.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath, which are also symptoms of other respiratory illnesses such as influenza.
In a release sent to news outlets, Dr. Harrist said “If you have a fever or cough, you might have COVID-19. We know most people who are infected have mild illness and are able to recover at home without medical care.”
“But, we also know people who are aged 65 and older and people who have medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and weak immune systems are more likely to get severe illness,” she said.
Harrist noted COVID-19 is a new disease despite the familiar symptoms. “That means higher potential for quick spread. Our bodies aren’t prepared to fight a new virus and there are no vaccines or proven treatments yet available,” she said. “With new diseases there can be more people sick at one time, which is tough for our local healthcare systems to handle.”
Harrist said anyone can get sick and has a chance of a serious illness with COVID-19, and anyone who is sick can pass it on to others.
“That’s why it is incredibly important to stay home when you are sick and for everyone to follow the public health orders that are in place to limit contact for all of us with others. They are meant to save lives and to reduce the spread of this disease in our state.” she said.
More details about what to do when sick are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html.
More information about COVID-19 and Wyoming can be found online here: https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/.
NOTE: This article was updated to reflect a change in policy by CRMC. The article now states two (2) parents/guardians are allowed to visit a pediatric patient per 24-hour period)