Laramie County COVID hospitalizations reach “concerning” level before CFD


CHEYENNE — With the city’s largest event right around the corner, Laramie County still accounts for the vast majority of delta variant COVID19 cases in Wyoming – accounting for 74 percent of the state’s delta cases last week, Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Director Kathy Emmons said during Tuesday’s Board of Health meeting.

The delta variant is more transmittable and more deadly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so residents and visitors alike are recommended to take precautions like social distancing, frequent hand washing and getting vaccinated.

“We’re at the point where (CFD) has done everything they can do; we’ve done everything we can do,” Emmons said. “Now, we just have to rely on people using their brain to do the right thing.” 

Already, the effects of the variant and its spread are being felt by medical professionals, with 24 patients being treated for COVID-19 at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center and four at the VA Medical Center. 

Six of those CRMC patients are in the ICU, and five are on ventilators. 

While Laramie County’s total active COVID-19 cases actually decreased from last week, Emmons said the hospitalization trend was “really concerning.” 

Across the nation, especially in states with high populations of unvaccinated residents, like Missouri, other hospitals are seeing the same occurrence. 

The majority of severe cases are being seen in unvaccinated residents, and the death rate for those with no protection is even higher. 

In the U.S., 99.5 percent of COVID-19-related deaths from January through May occurred in residents who were not vaccinated, Emmons said. A significant contributor to those stats is the variants. 

“The CDC released today that 83 percent of the cases in the country are from variants, and that is certainly what we’re seeing in Laramie County,” Emmons said.

Unfortunately, other areas of the state are beginning to see the presence of the delta variant, too. At one point, Emmons said Laramie County had all but four of the state’s delta cases.

But here in Cheyenne, it will be a matter of wait-and-see for what’s to come after CFD, as the beginning of the school year gets closer and closer.

Unlike last year, LCSD1 does not currently have plans to institute a mask mandate for the 2021-22 school year.

With kids 12 and older currently eligible for the vaccine, the health department plans to offer an optional COVID-19 vaccine, along with all the necessary vaccinations for elementary school students, during registration. 

What’s more telling about the current situation is that the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department brought back its free COVID-19 testing program last week. Residents can head there if they’re feeling ill, and CFD will also offer both PCR and rapid result tests during the big event. However, CFD will not be offering vaccinations during the rodeo. 

To find where you can get a COVID-19 vaccine, head to vaccines.gov. If you’re hesitant to get a COVID-19 vaccine for various reasons, you can learn more about common concerns at www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/ index.html.

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