Cody Regional Health Struggles to Treat COVID and Bad Info

Cody Regional Health Struggles to Treat COVID and Bad Info

Written by on September 7, 2021

COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on Park County as Cody Regional Health’s medical staff work strenuously to treat all their patients and counter misinformation.

The Delta variant of COVID-19 has, once again, put tremendous strain on the state and the nation. Park County and Cody are no exception, with the latest surge straining the staff and resources at the place where they’re needed most: our hospitals.

On Sept. 1, Cody Regional Health was openly struggling with a “dramatic increase” in COVID cases. The hospital’s 25-bed critical access wing was half-filled with patients all experiencing COVID-related illness.

Bear in mind – Cody Regional Health only admits patients with severe cases of COVID-19. Many others are sent home for isolation and treatment.

One thing the hospital won’t do is treat anyone with “experimental treatments.” This is likely in response to people nationwide attempting to treat COVID symptoms with the horse deworming drug Ivermectin.

“We are committed to providing the most up-to-date therapy for the treatment of Covid-19.  We constantly watch for approval of any new therapies, but we do not give experimental treatments outside of clinical trials,” said Dr. Elise Lowe, Hospitalist and co-Chair of the Viral Management Committee at Cody Regional.  “There are many medications under investigation in controlled trials where safety can be closely monitored.  In alliance with our oath to First Do No Harm, we will not be prescribing any therapies that have not been proven safe and effective.” Dr. Lowe concluded.”

This refusal of experimental treatments is part of another plague Cody Regional Health is working to address: a plague of misinformation.

On Friday, Sept. 3, Cody Regional Health published a statement on social media. There are so many COVID cases in the hospital, non-COVID patients who need specialized care in out-of-state hospitals aren’t getting it due to the new surge of the Delta variant.

At Cody Regional Hospital, we have always and will always be dedicated to the patients we serve.  We are struggling, however. For the last 18 months, we have had to re-examine everything we know about patient care to face a virus previously unknown to man. More days than not, we have covid patients in our care, and many days, we have more than our system is designed to handle.  Like every hospital in the country, we don’t have enough staff. 

We have notices from every surrounding state that they have no room for any Wyoming Covid positive patients. We have patients who do not have (COVID-19) but need specialized care and can’t transfer to a larger hospital because they are full. 

There is a lot of information out there on national news and local social media, and unfortunately, a lot of misinformation. 

Much of this misinformation centers on simplistic answers, denying the existence of the disease, ignoring changing and emerging research, presenting unsupported claims and cures, and misrepresenting data.  Some demand that medical professionals have all the answers all of the time.

We don’t have all the answers. But we also have a hospital full of very dedicated people working extremely hard every day to serve our patients who need our care, whether they are battling with Covid-19 or any other illness. As information regarding this disease changes and improves, we will continue to modify our recommendations, treatments, and responses.  We are tired, but we are not backing down. 

We will continue to demand the best of ourselves, and we need our community to stand behind us.

On Sept. 3, there were 156 active cases of COVID-19 in Park County and 15 hospitalizations – eleven at Cody Regional Health and four at Powell Valley Healthcare.

The numbers become bleaker when looking at I.C.U. cases. Of the eight I.C.U. beds in the county, seven are occupied. This potentially deprives treatment not only to COVID patients but anyone who develops medical conditions requiring intensive treatment.

Vaccination is the only scientifically proven way to curb the spread of COVID-19. In that respect, Wyoming and Park County are well behind the curb.

As of Aug. 30, only 205, 268 Wyoming residents – less than 35% of the population  – are fully vaccinated. Park County fares slightly better at 37.62%.

COVID-19 infection rates are directly impacting our communities. For example, Hot Springs County schools are closed to in-person instruction until at least Sept. 13 because 30% of Hot Springs High School students are either infected or in quarantine.

Cody schools aren’t being spared. As of last week – the first full week of classes for the 2021-2022 school year – over 5o Cody students and school staff were in quarantine due to COVID-19

Vaccines are still available – for free – through several medical institutions like Park County Public Health and pharmacies throughout Park County.

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