Wyoming hospitals treated 249 COVID-19 patients on Thursday — the most at any point during the pandemic.
At the height of last year’s surge in November, 247 people were hospitalized with the virus, while active cases neared 12,000 — roughly 2% of the state.
This time, the surge is being driven almost entirely by unvaccinated residents, who make up 98% of all new cases recorded since May 1. Those developing severe illness are often sicker this time around, doctors have said, as a more aggressive virus strain takes its toll.
Active cases today are roughly 3,500 and falling from where they were a month ago, but hospitalizations and deaths are trending in the opposite direction.
At the start of this month, 210 people were hospitalized with the virus statewide. On Sept. 1, it was 198.
Unlike the state’s first hospitalization spike, which peaked at the end of last November, this one has kept hospitals at constant high alert.
Last fall and winter, hospitalizations stayed above 200 for 23 days. This year, they have hovered around 200 since early September, occasionally dipping to 170 or 180 or spiking to 230 and beyond.
“We don’t have a complete explanation for the current hospitalization levels as compared to case counts. Possible factors include more serious illness being associated with Delta variant and more people avoiding testing,” health department spokesperson Kim Deti said via email.
“One reason avoiding testing is unfortunate is there are treatments available to people who test positive that can potentially help keep them from becoming more seriously ill,” she added.
Wyoming’s hospitals are relatively small. The state’s two largest facilities are licensed to care for just over 200 beds. Wyoming Medical Center in Casper has been recording some of the highest patient numbers that physicians can ever remember seeing. At points, fewer than 10 inpatient beds have been available at the facility.
“We are at record high hospitalizations at Wyoming Medical Center,” Natrona County Health Officer Dr. Mark Dowell told the county board of health Thursday. “It’s like a war zone.”
Casper’s hospital has been treating nearly 30% of the state’s virus patients for at least the last month. The facility, which touts itself as a regional transfer center, has been denying more transfer requests, but officials have declined to offer specific data on the number of requests being approved and denied.
is overrun and there are a lot of patients being admitted,” Dowell added, saying he doesn’t anticipate that changing in the near future.
Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease specialist and a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, joined Cheddar to discuss the CDC panel's endorsement of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shots. "I think for the high-risk individuals, it makes a lot of sense," he said.
Outside of Casper, five Wyoming hospitals have at some point
gone into crisis care during this latest surge, meaning they did not have adequate resources to care for all patients.
Virus-related deaths are also increasing. The state publicized details on 69 deaths this week —
the largest weekly update of 2021. The majority of those deaths occurred in October.
All the while, Wyoming remains the most vaccine-hesitant state in the nation. It’s now also the most reluctant to vaccinate our children, according to a new poll from the Census Bureau released Wednesday.
The state has the second-lowest vaccination rate in the U.S., behind only West Virginia. Forty-three percent of Wyoming residents are fully vaccinated. Of residents 12 to 17 years old, 35% are fully inoculated.
Gov. Mark Gordon has said no further interventions will come from his office to boost vaccination or curtail the virus’ spread, while his state health officer and federal officials are encouraging everyone to mask up in areas with moderate-to-high virus transmission.
Sixteen Wyoming counties saw high transmission levels over the last 14 days
based on state metrics.
Gordon has said he encourages residents to get vaccinated but that the decision is “intensely personal” and he is not planning any interventions to increase uptake.
PHOTOS: COVID-19 in Wyoming
A security guard turns away fans at the doors of Casper College's Swede Erickson Thunderbird Gym during the Wyoming State High School Basketball Championships on March 12 in Casper. Overall, state athletics events in Casper bring in nearly $14 million in tourism revenue — a number that shrunk this year because of the coronavirus.
News outlets livestream as Natrona County Health Officer Dr. Mark Dowell hosts a press conference explaining the department's decision to cancel the Wyoming State High School Basketball Championships on Thursday in Casper. The decision was made to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Security bans everyone except players and coaches from the Casper College gym for the Wyoming State High School Basketball Championships on Thursday in Casper. The tournament has been postponed until further notice.
A Casper College official tapes a sign to the entrance of Swede Erickson Thunderbird Gym keeping members of the media and public from attending the Wyoming State High School Basketball Championships on Thursday in Casper.
Security keeps members of the public out of the Casper College gym Thursday.
Security bans everyone except players and coaches from the Casper College gym for the Wyoming State High School Basketball Championships on Thursday in Casper, while people who were inside received a refund for their tickets. The tournament has been postponed until further notice.
COVID-19 Press Conference
From left, Dr. Mark Dowell, Natrona County Health Officer; Dr. Ghazi Ghanem, Rocky Mountain infectious disease expert; Anna Kinder, Casper-Natrona County Health Department executive director; and Dr. Ron Iverson of the Wyoming Medical Center emergency room speak on a panel Wednesday about the spread of the new coronavirus. Despite the disease's spread, they say there is no need for people to panic.
Natrona County Health Officer Dr. Mark Dowell hosts a press conference last month in Casper.
Shelves that normally house toilet paper are empty at Walmart in Casper on Thursday, as the community responds to fears of the coronavirus.
All of the toilet paper is sold out at Albertsons, but some boxes of tissue paper remain Thursday in Casper.
A small shelf of flushable wipes remains while the surrounding shelves have been cleared of all toilet paper at Albertsons on the east side of Casper on Thursday. Members of the public have been buying out toilet paper in local stores as fears around the coronavirus pandemic have risen.
The paper goods and cleaning section of Walmart is cleared of all toilet paper and tissue paper Thursday in Casper.
Toilet paper is sold out at Albertsons where signs that limit purchase of three per customer still hang Friday in Casper.
Walmart shoppers walk down the aisle cleared of toilet paper, tissue paper and numerous cleaning supplies Friday in Casper.
All the toilet paper is sold out at Walmart; paper towels, distilled water and some cleaning supplies remain Friday in Casper.
Dr. Andy Dunn of Mesa Primary Care and Chief of Staff of Wyoming Medical Center poses for a portrait at the site of a new temporary respiratory symptom clinic in Casper. The clinic, located at 245 S. Fenway Street, includes a drive-up window where Dr. Dunn is standing so patients can be seen and triaged quickly from their cars.
A new respiratory symptom clinic is being set up by Wyoming Medical Center at 245 S. Fenway Street in Casper as a way to assist patients during the coronavirus pandemic.
Chairs are spaced out about six feet apart to mitigate potential transfer of COVID-19 at the temporary respiratory symptom clinic in Casper on Friday. Immigration advocates said the federal relief restricts immigrants' access to testing, treatment, and eventually vaccines, for COVID-19.
Meadow Wind Assisted Living facility, seen in March in Casper, has caution tape and signs on the doors prohibiting visitors to help prevent residents from potential exposure to COVID-19. The coronavirus has a higher mortality rate among older adults.
Sierra Martinez, 5, waits in the back seat of the car while her father, Nick Martinez, collects breakfast and lunch sacks provided by the Natrona County School District on Monday at the Central Wyoming Boys and Girls Club in Casper. The meals are available free to anyone 18 and under Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at numerous schools and community centers in the county.
Lainee Branscom, 6, and Kade Branscom, 4, arrive at the Boys and Girls Club in Casper Monday, March 23, with their mother to receive bagged breakfast and lunch provided by the McKinley County School District.
The marquee on the Fox theater in downtown Casper reads "We are closed to keep you safe," March 24. Unemployment claims in Wyoming have topped 32,000.
Ernie Hawkes, kitchen chef for the Wooden Derrick Cafe, sells Philly cheese steak sandwiches outside the restaurant in March in downtown Casper.
Lauren Abesames works the counter Wednesday at Wind City Books in downtown Casper The book store has remained open through the COVID-19 pandemic, but they have adjusted their hours, expanded online ordering and offered curbside pick-up to accommodate health guidelines.
Fagan Jewelers in downtown Casper has a sign on the door that reads "Closed for now, see you soon! Nora," Wednesday, March 25.
Don Juan restaurant in downtown Casper is temporally shut down with a bilingual sign on the door that reads "We are closed. We will be back April 6," in response to statewide closures to stop the spread of COVID-19 March 25. Restaurants around the state are making use of the ability to sell alcohol as part of their curbside services.
Hand Sewn Medical Mask
Loretta Miller of Mountain View Baptist Church in Mills holds up a hand-sewn mask on March 25, 2020, in Mills.
Ardys Sterkel, right, and Loretta Miller hand out sack breakfasts and lunches provided by the Natrona County School District at Mountain View Baptist Church in Mills on March 25.
Tayven Richard, 12, carries 23 sacks of lunch and milk to his mother's van Wednesday at the Natrona County School District free lunch program handed out at Mountain View Baptist Church in Mills. Richard, along with his younger brother, helps his mother Sandy hand out the meals to children enrolled in Head Start that are unable to travel to a pick-up location themselves.
Sonnie Rodenburg sews barrier masks for members of the community to use while in public at her home in Casper Thursday, March 26. Rodenburg takes orders through her facebook page and hopes the masks can be used to prevent communal transmission of Covid-19. She has made about 100 masks since Sunday. "I'm just going to keep going until I can't go no more," says Rodenburg, "My back is killing me but we need this."
Sonnie Rodenburg uses her self-isolation time to sew barrier masks for members of the community on Thursday in Casper. Wyoming Medical Center is seeking the public's assistance in sewing masks, gowns and caps.
Sonnie Rodenburg writes encouraging messages on paper bags containing barrier masks she has sewn for members of the community Thursday, March 26, in Casper.
Siblings Preston Haigler, 8, Gabriella Haigler, 15, and Ilyanna Haigler, 12, pose for a portrait under rainbow hearts they installed in a front window of their home Friday in Casper. The siblings were inspired by Facebook posts to tape up rainbow hearts to help lift the spirits of people walking or driving by their home.
Alyss Smith decorated her front door, seen Friday, with drawings of a rainbow and a fortune cookie in an effort to spread cheer. Smith founded the Facebook group Spread Love Wyoming to encourage people throughout Wyoming to decorate the outsides of their homes.
"Thanks mail carriers" is written in chalk on the sidewalk near the corner of 17th street and Oask Street in Casper Friday, March 27.
WMC hand sewn gowns
Carol Burback works alongside fellow volunteer seamstresses to sew gowns, caps and masks at Kalico Kat quilt shop in Casper Monday, March 31, for the staff at Wyoming Medical Center.
WMC hand sewn gowns
Seamstresses at Kalico Kat quilt shop in Casper work together to sew medical gowns, masks and caps for staff at Wyoming Medical Center.
Drive in Church Service
Pastor Kay Wittman of Trinity Lutheran greets members of her congregation arriving at American Dream drive in theater in Powell to participate in church service March 29. Trinity Lutheran and Hope Lutheran churches teamed up for the service allowing people to come and participate while abiding health restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Drive in Church Service
Pastor Kay Wittman of Trinity Lutheran church in Cody leads a sermon Sunday at American Dream Drive-In theater in Powell. The drive-in service allows for the congregation to come together while practicing social distancing by remaining in their vehicles.
Drive in Church Service
Dick Scott closes his eyes in prayer at the end of the joint church service at American Dream Drive-In theater last month in Powell. Scott and his wife Sharon are members of Trinity Lutheran in Cody.
Urgent Care Clinic
Occupational health technician Sara Moore wears a hand-sewn mask Wednesday at Urgent Care of Casper, which is open to serve the community but has made several changes to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. The clinic offers coronavirus testing but asks people to call ahead before arriving.
Urgent Care Clinic
Nurse practitioner Chelsea Mower holds up a nasal swab that is used to collect a COVID-19 sample earlier this month at Urgent Care of Casper. Until a new announcement from the state Health Department, Wyomingites in six priority categories had to be tested through private labs.
Joshua's Cleaning Wipes
Kim Perez, CEO of Joshua's Storehouse, soaks coffee filters in diluted bleach and folds them two at a time to create sanitation wipes that will be distributed throughout the store, community, and in the weekly boxes they deliver to seniors Wednesday, April 1, in Casper.
Joshua's Cleaning Wipes
Joshua's Storehouse created sanitation wipes out of coffee filters soaked in diluted bleach to hand out to the community Wednesday.
Shelter in place
A home along Second Street in Casper has a heart made of up red string lights hanging in their window Tuesday, March 31.
Walmart social distancing
Walmart uses shopping carts to funnel people in though one entrance on April 7 in Casper. The retail giant, which has two locations in Casper, will require face masks in all of its stores starting Monday.
Walmart social distancing
Walmart directs shoppers through one entrance an exit and limits the total numbers inside to help comply with social distancing measures Monday, April 6, in Casper.
A sign posed at Black Beach Campground in Alcova reads "closed to overnight camping" in compliance with state orders to help limit the spread of coronavirus. While Wyoming is one of eight states without a shelter-in-place order, its state-ordered closures are similar to those enacted by shelter-in-place states, with a few notable exceptions.
A Wyoming Department of Highway Patrol sign reads "WY state parks day use only closed to camping," Tuesday in Casper.
Fred Schlachter from Cheyenne holds a sign that reads “Gov Gordon let Wyo work” at a protest against government intervention limiting the spread of COVID-19 on Thursday in Casper.
Protestors gather at Pioneer Park in Casper to protest government intervention in the private sector by closing down businesses and limiting public gathering to mitigate the spread of coronavirus Thursday.
Mel Koslowsky, left, and his wife Donna Koslowsky hold signs while attending a Thursday protest in Casper against government orders that have led to the closure of numerous businesses in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Wyoming's unemployment claims have spiked since the pandemic began.
A man wears a makeshift mask covering half his face while he rides a bicycle across Center Street on Thursday in Casper. More than 2.4 million gloves, masks and gowns requested by Wyoming have yet to be delivered. Health care providers have reported shortages, even as community members step up to produce homemade supplies.
Feed the Frontlines
Cory Poulos and Veronica Mundy of Occasions by Cory deliver free hot lunch Thursday to the Casper Police Department.
Artists at Home
Vicki Windle poses for a portrait holding scissors and a paintbrush inside her home March 24 in Casper. Windle is an artist and has transformed the inside of her home to a studio.
Artists at Home
Mary Sommers of the Casper Writers Guild poses for a portrait inside her home Thursday in Casper. Wyoming-based artists who've lost income because of the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for grants.
Easter Dinner Hand Out
Sherman Hill, team director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming in Casper wheels out meals to share with families Friday. The club and its partners also handed out goodies for children.
Easter Dinner Hand Out
Sarah Farrer and her four children walk through the line for Easter dinner at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming April 10 in Casper. Nearly 40 percent of Wyoming residents told UW researchers that they or a relative have been laid off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stand Alone Lunch Bunch
From left, Sarah Fromva, Dana Grapes and Victoria Fife meet up in the parking lot of Kohl's in Casper for a socially distant lunch Friday, April 10.
A yard sign at Conwell Park in Casper across from Wyoming medical Center reads, "Thank you WMC for all that you do!" in April 10 in Casper as a show of support for healthcare professionals working through the COVID-19 pandemic.
City Ordinance Protest
Sarah Newsom stands next to her motorcycle Tuesday and holds a sign reading "STOP TYRANNY" made on a roll of paper towels at a protest against a proposed city ordinance that would enforce state health orders with fines and possibly jail time. Casper City Council decided against passing the order later that evening.
City Ordinance Protest
Cindi Effenberger watches a live stream of Casper City Council from her car at the soccer fields in north Casper while holding a peaceful protest against a proposed City Ordinance which would allow for enforcement of health codes related to COVID-19 Tuesday, April 14.
Jodi Youmans-Jones angles her laptop screen as she prepares to guide her jazz III students through warm up over video conference from her home in Casper Tuesday, April 14. Youmans-Jones teaches dance at Casper College and has struggled adapting to the limitations of virtual teaching.
From left, Susan Roberson, Stephanie Bodig, and Matt Brown howl for Casper first responders from their home in Paradise Valley on April 14. Howl for Casper was an event that occurred around the city every night at 8 p.m. as a way to show support for essential workers, particularly first responders, and show community solidarity during the pandemic.
Grant Street Grocery
Lacey Phillips, left, and Lindsey Grant check out a customer at Grant Street Grocery in Casper in April. Lawmakers are working on a bill that would provide more relief to the state's small businesses.
Nurse Cristina Gonzalez takes a nasal swab to be sent for COVID-19 testing at a drive-up clinic on the Wind River Reservation last month. Data shows the coronavirus is disproportionately affecting communities of color in Wyoming.
Nurse Cheri Gonzales collects more tubes of nasal swabs to be used for COVID-19 testing Friday in Arapahoe.
A nurse collects nasal swabs used to take samples from patients for COVID-19 testing at a drive-up clinic on April 24 in Arapahoe.
Pediatric nurse practitioner gathers personal information from a patient at the drive up clinic in Arapahoe Friday, April 24.
Nurse Cristina Gonzalez grabs lab bags with samples to be tested for COVID-19 at a drive-thru clinic in April in Arapahoe.
Cristina Gonzalez, a nurse working at the drive through clinic in Arapahoe collecting nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing, cleans her face shield between patients Friday, April 24. Gonzalez and the other medical workers at the clinic use the same shield for about five weeks and the same N95 masks for a week, disinfecting between uses to try and preserve the personal protective equipment, or PPE.
Radiologic technologist Ann Kuba helps out at the drive in clinic in Arapahoe Friday, April 24, with nurses Cheri Gonzales, left, and Cristina Gonzalez, right.
Westy Guill moves weights to be cleaned inside his gym, Oil City CrossFit, on Thursday in Casper. Guill has modified his gym in preparation for reopening Monday by taping off squares for members to use as their space, regularly disinfecting equipment and limiting access to the gym to nine people at a time.
Michelle Ward wears a face mask as she gets her hair cut by stylist Audrey Bennett at Rootz Salon in Casper Friday, May 1. The salon is taking precautions resume business while preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Dan Ridinger, owner of Citizen Shave barber shop, cuts Travis Tharp's hair on May 1 in Casper. Wyoming on Monday extended the state's three coronavirus-related public health orders through the end of the month.
Terasa Gustafson washes Krista Anderson's hair at Rootz Salon in Casper Friday, May 1.
A sign that reads "soiled masks here" lays on top of a wicker basket at the front of Rootz Salon in Casper Friday, May 1.
Michelle Ward and Audrey Bennett both wear face masks as Ward gets her hair cut at Rootz Salon last Friday in Casper. Restrictions on businesses like hair salons will be further loosened in the coming days.
Both Caitlin Mann and artist Kassandra Wolfe wear face masks while Mann gets a tattoo of her cat on her thigh in May at Sparxworx in downtown Casper.
Shelley Coffey wears a face mask as David Anderson washes her hair in one of the sinks set up at Rootz Salon in Casper Friday, May 1. Coffey is from Lusk and has been getting her hair cut by Anderson for over ten years.
Honk for Casper
A car drives along Second Street in downtown Casper Friday, May 1, with messages such as "Thanks China" and "Eww..." as part of Theater of the Poor's Honk for Casper happening.
Honk for Casper
HannahClaire Sutton, 19, looks up at William Conte, artistic director of Theater of the Poor, as he stands on his car at a gathering outside of Metro coffee shop in downtown Casper before participating in the Honk for Casper happening Friday, May 1.
Honk for Casper
William Conte stands on his car while wearing an American flag as a cape and holding a sign that reads "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," at the encore performance of Honk for Casper by Theatre of the Poor Friday, May 1, in downtown Casper. Conte is the artistic director of Theater of the Poor and the event brought together participants to write messages on their cars and drive around downtown Casper honking as both a celebration of the economy reopening and a support of small businesses.
Sherrie Lopez, owner of Sherrie's Place, serves a drink to patrons Jim Kalasinsky, left, and John Kornkven in the outdoor dinning area May 7 in Casper. Natrona County bars and restaurants are preparing to start seating more diners inside.
Holly Nash, a registered nurse, labels an IV bag for a patient in the ICU at Wyoming Mecidal Center in May in Casper. One of the state's coronavirus task forces has shifted its focus to addressing the state's high health care costs.
Dr. Mark Mc Ginley takes a phone call in his office on the ICU floor of Wyoming Medical Center. The doctors who treat COVID-19 patients admit they've had fears about catching the virus.
Dr. Mark Mc Ginley speaks with his colleague, Dr. Tara Taylor, on Friday outside a patient suite of the ICU at Wyoming Medical Center in Casper. Both have been treating patients sickened with COVID-19.
Registered nurse Lindsey LeVeck puts on her face shield --the last piece of her personal protective equipment -- before entering a room at the Wyoming Medical Center ICU that's housing a patient with coronavirus.
Logan Engelman cleans a chair and table with disinfectant at Yellowstone Garage on Friday in Casper. Multiple organizations are already working to document the coronavirus pandemic for the historical record.
Tasha Foreverg serves lunch to Shelly Aragon at Yellowstone Garage in May in Casper. A new survey shows falling support for measures put in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Hailey Ferraiuolo and her friend Emily Hand, right, have lunch at Wyoming Ale Works in Casper on May 8. State health officials plan to loosen restrictions on restaurant capacities in their next health orders.
A handful of lawmakers attend a May 16 special legislative session in person at the Wyoming Capitol. The state is bracing for a massive revenue hit caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and an energy downturn.
Bill Biggs uses disinfectant to wipe down the inside of the door on a Casper Area Transportation Coalition bus at the end of his shift Monday, May 18, in Casper. Biggs has been a driver for the company for 23 years. The public transportation service has implemented new regulations to clean and disinfect the busses after each shift and undergo a deep disinfection every weekend.
Dave Limmer holds a door open for parishioners attending Restoration Church as it reopens to the public May 17 in Casper. The church encouraged social distancing among attendees and offered face masks and hand sanitizer throughout the building.
Marcie Smith answers the phone at Shear Heaven Hair Salon on May 20 in Glenrock. The salon has reopened for business while implementing new safety measures such as limiting the number of people in the building and requiring everyone to wear a mask inside.
Gary Eckhardt, owner of Glenrock Bowl, holds his hat in his hands as he talks earlier this month about the struggle to maintain his small business in light of closures and precautions put in place because of the coronavirus.
Peg Reed loads groceries in to the back of her car after shopping in July at Walmart on the east side of Casper. It was the first day the retailer required face masks for all shoppers.
A Walmart employee helps two shoppers lift a cart onto the curb before they head inside last week in Casper. The employee was stationed outside the retailer to help enforce the new mask mandate, turning away shoppers without face coverings.
Shoppers at Walmart wear masks as they exit the store and an employee monitors the entrance to enforce the company's mask order last month in Casper. Wyoming lawmakers declined to advance two bills that would have raised sales and use taxes, including on groceries.
Back to School
Jessica Christian gives her son Tobias a kiss through their face masks as he is dropped off for his first day of kindergarten at Park Elementary School on Wednesday in Casper. Natrona County schools reopened to students for the first time since their sudden closure in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Back to School
Harley Guinn, left, talks with her mom through the fence at Park Elementary School in Casper on Sept. 2, the first day of school. Laramie County health officials say that masks are "key" to keeping schools there open.
Back to School
Parents wait outside Park Elementary School as their children are directed inside by grade level during the first day back to school on Wednesday. Students were required to wear masks if they couldn't socially distance.
Lab technician Sam Britz loads samples of coronavirus tests into a QIAcube at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory in Cheyenne on Sept. 4. The machine can process 12 samples in an hour and the facility has seven machines total to help with the increase in testing, up from three machines in March.
Lab technician Hanna Ahuja prepares samples of coronavirus tests for a PCR machine at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory on Friday in Cheyenne. The PCR machine copies the genetic material and detects if a sample is COVID positive.
Skylar Trembath with the COVID-19 Surge Team sorts and processes incoming coronavirus specimen collection kits to be tested at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory on Friday in Cheyenne. The University of Wyoming and other schools across the state have reported students and staff testing positive for the coronavirus.
Lab technician Hanna Ahuja works at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory in Cheyenne Friday, Sept. 4. Ahuja is working on COVID testing at the lab and joined the staff through the CDC foundation.
Evan Scott and Alli MacDonald of the Covid-19 Surge Team sort coronavirus specimen collection kits brought in by a courier on Sept. 4 at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory in Cheyenne. The Surge Team members were brought on to help process the massive numbers of tests brought in to the lab from state wide health facilities.
NC v Rock Springs football
A Natrona County team manager wears a shirt that reads "Hey Tigers, COVID isn't the only thing stopping your game!" on Sept. 25 before the Mustangs' game against Rock Springs at Cheney Alumni Field in Casper.
Housekeeper Mary McLeelan cleans a patient's room in the neurological unit of Wyoming Medical Center in Casper on Oct. 9. Statewide hospitalizations continue to rise as COVID-19 cases surge here.
Medical Assistant Casey Garrison inputs patient information on a form at the drive through respiratory clinic in Casper Friday, Oct. 9, 2020.
Medical assistant Savannah Dela Vega removes her face mask in the staff room at the respiratory clinic of Wyoming Medical Center on Oct. 9 in Casper. More than 100 coronavirus patients in Wyoming are currently hospitalized.
Medical assistant Savannah Dela Vega places a nasal swab in a container for testing at a drive-thru respiratory clinic Friday in Casper.
Respiratory Clinic Line
A long line of cars line up along Fenway Street on Tuesday in Casper as people wait to be seen at Wyoming Medical Center's respiratory clinic. Long waits for medical services have been reported amid the coronavirus surge.
Mask Mandate Meeting
The Natrona County Board of Commissioners hold a public meeting Nov. 10 to discuss enacting a face mask mandate in county-owned buildings.
Businesses Adapt to COVID
Dakota Bullock hands a to-go order to a Wind City Delivery driver at Grab and Go Gourmet on Thursday. The restaurant has closed indoor dinning, offering only curbside pick up and delivery as cases of coronavirus have continued to rise.
Ramona Garcia holds signs Wednesday at Conwell Park across from Wyoming Medical Center in Casper. "Mama, I don't know where you are but I know you're looking," Garcia said, addressing her mother, who is currently receiving treatment at WMC for COVID-19. Her sister and pastor also have the virus.
Cars drive by with "happy birthday" messages for Sheryl Dugan on her 32nd birthday Wednesday in Casper. Dugan is involved in I-REACH 2, a program that provides support for adults with developmental disabilities. Throughout the pandemic, Dugan has had to stay home, isolated from her friends involved in the program.
A sign posted at the entrance of Walgreens in Casper warns customers a COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2020.
A Wyoming Department of Transportation sign over south bound I-25 reads "Arrive Alive Then Wear a Mask" urging travelers to adhere to health care guidelines for curbing the spread of the coronavirus Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in Casper.
Mel Gregg is reflected in a window where masks he sewed hang waiting to be sold at $5 each from his home off 15th street in Casper Monday, Dec. 7, 2020.
Siblings Melody Johnson and Mel Gregg pose for a portrait outside their home in Casper on Monday, wearing their homemade masks. Johnson had the idea to sell masks out of their home on 15th Street, and Gregg sews them.
Clinic nurse Kendall Coursen administers a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to Greg Tubridy, a Casper/Natrona County International Airport public safety officer at the Casper-Natrona County Health Department on Dec. 16 in Casper.
Registered Nurse Hana Kim prepares a syringe of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Casper-Natrona County Health Department in Casper Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020.
Registered Nurse Hana Kim holds up a vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Casper-Natrona County Health Department in Casper Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020.
Firefighter Dane Andersen receives the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Natrona County by registered nurse Hilary Cage on Wednesday at the Casper-Natrona County Health Department.
Dr. Hoo Feng Choo receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center in Cheyenne. Choo specializes in infectious diseases.
Nurse Lan Whitaker receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine administered by nurse Amber Hall on Tuesday at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.
Nurses Wednesday Storm administers the Pfizer-BioNTech at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center in Cheyenne.
Registered Nurse Darrallynn Patterson administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to ICU nurse Hayley Wasserburger on Tuesday at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center in Cheyenne.
Dr. Sodienya Tetenta receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center in Cheyenne. Tetenta, who specializes in pulmonary disease and critical care, was among the first people in Wyoming to receive the vaccine.
Former state Rep. Scott Clem attends a protest Monday at the Wyoming Capitol against COVID-19 public health orders. Clem, who represented Gillette in the Wyoming Legislature until recently, organized the protest.
A crowd of protesters moves toward the side of the Wyoming Capitol to chant slogans at the office of Gov. Mark Gordon on Monday in Cheyenne. The demonstrators gathered to oppose the public health orders enacted to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Senior Pharmacy Technician Dallas Messenger administers a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at the Community Health Centers of Central Wyoming in Casper on March 25. Many Wyomingites say they do not want a coronavirus vaccine, which is now available to anyone over 16.
Syringes prepared with doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine sit on a table ready to be used at a March clinic in Casper. The clinic aimed to give out 130 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Candelario Flores recives a dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine administered by Senior Pharmacy Technician Dallas Messenger at the Community Health Center of Central Wyoming in Casper Thursday, March 25, 2021. The Health center parented with Walgreens for the vaccine clinic aiming to give out 130 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
Casper Vaccine Clinic
Tables are spaced out with hand sanitizer in preparation for individuals participating in the Casper-Natrona County Health Department's Casper Vaccine Clinic at the Eastridge Mall in Casper on Monday, March 29, 2021. The tables and chairs were donated by the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds.
Casper Vaccine Clinic
The Casper-Natrona County Health Department's Casper Vaccine Clinic had multiple vaccination stations prepared at the Eastridge Mall in Casper.
Casper Vaccine Clinic
Anna Kinder, executive director of the Casper-Natrona County Health Department talks with members of the press at the new Casper Vaccine Clinic at the Eastridge Mall in Casper on Monday, March 29, 2021.
Tommy Getter gets a band aid after receiving a dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine administered by Senior Pharmacy Technician Dallas Messenger at the Community Health Center of Central Wyoming in Casper Thursday, March 25, 2021. The Health center parented with Walgreens for the vaccine clinic aiming to give out 130 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
Senior Pharmacy Technician Dallas Messenger grabs a syringe prepared with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the COVID-19 vaccine clinic hosted March 25 at Community Health Center of Central Wyoming in Casper. The clinic partnered with Walgreens to administer 130 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Lucketta McMahon received the COVID-19 vaccine at the Casper-Natrona County Health Department clinic in the Eastridge Mall in Casper.
Brenna Walker sits outside the Casper-Natrona County Health Department COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the Eastridge Mall talking about her reasons for taking the vaccine on April 7 in Casper. Discussions have begun in Wyoming about potential programs that could incentivize residents to get the vaccine.
Workers hang a banner outside the Casper-Natrona County Health Department COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the Eastridge Mall on Wednesday in Casper. For some residents, the vaccine presents an opportunity to resume activities that were halted by the pandemic.
A time to remember (copy)
Central Wyoming Hospice & Transitions holds a community grief and remembrance event at Healing Park on May 19, in Casper. The organization celebrates it's 40th anniversary this year.
Natrona County graduates line up by the windows of the Ford Wyoming Center ahead of the 2021 commencement ceremony in Casper on Thursday. While the students' final years of high school were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, few lingering signs remained Thursday.
Follow health and education reporter Morgan Hughes on Twitter @m0rgan_hughes