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Federal data shows burden on Wyoming hospitals easing as COVID-19 cases decline

Federal data shows burden on Wyoming hospitals easing as COVID-19 cases decline

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WMC

Wyoming Medical Center staff work Oct. 9 in the neurological unit of the Casper hospital. Federal data suggests that the burden COVID-19 is having on Wyoming hospitals is lessening.

Cases of the novel coronavirus in Wyoming have been on a downward trajectory since Thanksgiving, and newly updated federal data shows the burden on the state’s hospitals is beginning to ease as well.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released new data in December detailing a variety of facility-level statistics reported to the federal agency by the state’s hospitals.

The data is self-reported and therefore not comprehensive. Still, the statistics paint a picture over time and show which of Wyoming’s hospitals have seen the greatest burden — and when. The data is updated weekly and the most recent update shows COVID-19 cases in hospitals are falling, just as they are statewide.

The data outlines a handful of trends across the state.

Throughout the pandemic, most hospitalized COVID-19 patients haven’t needed an intensive care unit bed, but the number of patients in the ICU statewide did increase as cases surged across Wyoming.

The data also shows that at the height of the surge in November, the state’s largest hospitals were seeing 30% of their beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.

And that influx of patients that otherwise wouldn’t be there forced hospitals to find more space. Representatives from both Wyoming Medical Center and Cheyenne Regional Medical Center have told the Star-Tribune the hospitals added beds to accommodate more patients.

Wyoming Medical Center has for the most part maintained a capacity between 40% and 60%, while Cheyenne’s hospital saw almost 90% of beds full that last week of November.

In the first week of the new year, those hospitals were 50% and 60% full, respectively.

Follow health and education reporter Morgan Hughes on Twitter @m0rgan_hughes

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Health and education reporter

Morgan Hughes covers health and education in Wyoming. After growing up in rural Wisconsin, she graduated from Marquette University in 2018. She moved to Wyoming shortly after and covered education in Cheyenne before joining the Star-Tribune in May 2019.

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