COVID-19 cases continue to spike in Park County

Posted 8/19/21

A recent spike in local cases of COVID-19 is showing no sign of letting up, with the number of active infections and patients hospitalized with the disease continuing to rise in Park County.

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COVID-19 cases continue to spike in Park County

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A recent spike in local cases of COVID-19 is showing no sign of letting up, with the number of active infections and patients hospitalized with the disease continuing to rise in Park County.

As of Wednesday, 118 people in the county had confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, according to state data — up from 76 cases the prior week and 46 cases the week before that. 

A total of 13 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Park County on Wednesday — shooting up from six patients on Monday. Officials at Cody Regional Health reported caring for 10 patients on Wednesday — one below the hospital’s peak — with another three COVID patients at Powell Valley Healthcare.

The figures are the highest since mid-January and are in-line with a similar rise in cases and hospitalizations across Wyoming.

State officials have expressed concern with the growing numbers, and are encouraging residents to get vaccinated, but are not reimposing any new restrictions on daily life.

“On COVID, let me be clear that we are not going to issue any mandates, no mandates will come from this office. No face masks, no vaccination mandates,” Gov. Mark Gordon said at a Monday press conference, as reported by the Casper Star-Tribune. Gordon added that he also will not impose any lockdowns.

“We already know what to do,” Gordon told reporters. “I do believe statewide orders are not necessary; what will help ease the situation is people choosing to get vaccinated.”

While calling vaccination an “intensely personal choice,” Gordon encouraged people to get the shots, the Star-Tribune reported, saying he felt the vaccines were safer than the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.

“By now, most people know what we need to do, and we are all going to have to be more diligent if we are going to get COVID under control before school starts,” Gordon said. “I say this because the situation with COVID in Wyoming has grown more concerning in the last month.”

As of Monday, 9,279 people in Park County were fully vaccinated, according to state data, which amounted to just under 37% of the total population and 45.2% of adults. Both figures are marginally above the state averages (of 34.3% and 42.8%, respectively).

The vast majority of the vaccinations being administered are those manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna, which require two doses. On Tuesday, the Wyoming Department of Health announced that it’s recommending a third, booster dose for residents with compromised immune systems.

“National experts are seeing that people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness,” said State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist. “An additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines can help these people make sure they have enough protection against COVID-19.”

The rise in cases has been attributed in part to the new Delta variant of the novel coronavirus. Park County Health Officer Dr. Aaron Billin described the variant as “more transmissible, but not [necessarily] more deadly than the original strain of the virus.”

Officials say the data shows the vaccines do offer protection against the Delta variant, including to help prevent more severe illness in the event of so-called “breakthrough” infections.

When the Wyoming Department of Health reviewed more than 7,000 confirmed and probable cases that were reported between May and early August, they found that 95% of those infected were not fully vaccinated. Of the 372 people infected with COVID-19 in Park County between May 1 and Aug. 6, Billin said only 2.2% of them were fully immunized.

COVID-19 generally produces mild to moderate flu-like symptoms, but it can cause serious illness.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, a total of 35 deaths in Park County have been tied to COVID-19 out of roughly 3,200 confirmed and probable cases.

Across the state, officials have identified 809 COVID-19-related deaths among about 69,850 cases. More than 90% of the deaths have occurred among Wyomingites aged 60 or older, according to Department of Health data, and more than 68% of the deceased suffered from other underlying health conditions.

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