SWEETWATER COUNTY — Readily accessible vaccines are a “game changer” in Sweetwater County’s fight against COVID-19, but we’re not “totally out of the woods” yet, according to Sweetwater County Health Officer Jean Stachon.

During the now monthly update on COVID-19, local health officials provided vaccine and transmission information to community leaders and the media.

Although numbers are looking better locally and throughout the United States, COVID-19 is not over, according to Dr. Stachon. Vaccination is where most of the emphasis is now as far as protecting people, she said.

In Sweetwater County, 23.78% of the population has been fully vaccinated, including 31.48% of adults age 18 and older and 59.97% of seniors 65 and older. As of May 3, 2021, the county has administered 11,093 first doses of Pfizer/Moderna, 9,521 second doses of Pfizer/Modera, and 646 does of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the Wyoming Department of Health. Local health officials agreed that Sweetwater County has not had much of a problem with people not going in for their second doses of Pfizer/Moderna.

Sweetwater County Public Health is offering walk-in vaccine clinics from noon to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday at Community Nursing, 333 Broadway Suite 110 in Rock Springs. People can choose either the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In addition, appointments can also be scheduled at www.wyoapptportal.org by clicking “find a clinic.” Those who need assistance scheduling an appointment can call 307-922-5390 and select option 1. Other locations offering COVID-19 vaccines include Castle Rock Medical Center, K-Pack Pharmacy, Rock Springs Community Health Center, and Walmart Pharmacy. If numbers warrant, Dr. Stachon said Public Health is willing to help local businesses, churches and nonprofits set up vaccination clinics as well.

Sweetwater is one of five counties in Wyoming that is still in the “yellow” zone with moderate transmission rates, as of Monday. The others are Albany, Laramie, Teton and Uinta. Wyoming as a whole is also in the moderate zone for transmission.

Three people were being treated at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County for COVID-19 on Monday morning. Sweetwater County had a 4.6% testing positivity rate for the two weeks prior to April 27 with 172 cases per 100,000 population. The hospital is offering drive-thru COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

In addition to the county’s success vaccinating a large percentage of those at higher risk of complications from COVID-19, education has been one of the county’s pandemic success stories, according to Dr. Stachon. Local schools have been able to continue to meet in person throughout the school year. Graduations are scheduled to be unmasked, outdoor events for Rock Springs and Green River high schools.

At the end of May, the Wyoming Department of Health will take over contact tracing efforts for Sweetwater County, according to Public Health Director Kim Lionberger. This includes notifications of positive COVID-19 cases and reaching out to close contacts.

Dr. Stachon said at this point in the pandemic, one of the concerns is complacency. COVID-19 will probably be “with us from here on out” and continue to be an issue, Stachon said. She highly recommends vaccination for protection from the disease.

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