SWEETWATER COUNTY — The COVID-19 burden in Sweetwater County is currently heavy with extremely worrisome case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths in recent days.
Dr. Jean Stachon, County Health Officer, said she is deeply concerned about local communities and availability of healthcare both locally and regionally.
“The Delta variant has really made a tough situation worse with clear impacts on our hospital,” Stachon said.
“I’m aware of 16 deaths in less than three weeks among our county’s residents. That’s a dramatic increase for our area,” she said.
“Our communities need to recognize the seriousness of this situation. When the hospital is full due to COVID-19 patients, the care available for anyone no matter why they need to go to the hospital is affected. And the situation is so much worse when our options to transfer the most seriously ill patients aren’t available to us,” Stachon said.
Stachon said high levels of COVID-19 infections can affect schools and local businesses as well. “I want to see kids in class and able to participate in sports and other activities. I don’t want employers to have to close their doors because they don’t have enough workers available to do their jobs,” she said.
Stachon said the available vaccines continue to offer excellent protection from infection, including against the Delta variant.
From May 1-September 8, among those 12+, there were 1,563 total cases (lab confirmed + probable) and of those, 34 are breakthroughs (fully vaccinated). So more than 97 percent of new cases were not documented breakthrough cases. From May 1-September 8 among those 12+, 21 cases who reported hospitalization at the time of their interview, 1 was fully vaccinated and counted as breakthrough cases. So more than 95 percent were not documented breakthrough cases.
Sweetwater County Positive Cases for the last 10 weeks.
Stachon acknowledged no vaccine can prevent all infections and that’s why a small percentage of “breakthrough” cases is not surprising. “But the overwhelming majority of ‘breakthrough’ cases that are identified do not involve serious illness. Vaccines help keep you from getting COVID-19 in the first place, but if you do get infected you are much less likely to get severely ill.”
In addition to vaccines, other important prevention strategies include wearing masks in indoor public settings, staying home when ill except to get medical attention and common sense physical distancing.
Free, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations remain readily available across Wyoming. Higher vaccination rates will help protect those who aren’t eligible for vaccination such as young children.
Sweetwater County vaccination sites include:
Public Health, Memorial Hospital, Castle Rock Medical Center, K-Pack Pharmacy, Sav-on Pharmacy, Smith’s Pharmacy in Rock Springs & Green River, Walgreen’s, and Walmart.
Convenient ways to find where to get COVID-19 vaccines include:
· Text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX) or 822862 (VACUNA) to find up to three nearby locations that have vaccines available.
· Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline at 1-800-232-0233 for phone-based help.
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after one dose of the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) vaccine.
More information from WDH about vaccination in Wyoming can be found at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/immunization/wyoming-covid-19-vaccine-information/.