Concerns Grow as Park County's COVID-19 Cases Climb Higher | Big Horn Basin Media

Concerns Grow as Park County’s COVID-19 Cases Climb Higher

Written by on October 26, 2020

Park County Public Health Officer Dr. Aaron Billin painted a dower picture of Cody’s future with COVID-19, citing alarming developments elsewhere in Wyoming and Utah as a sign of things to come.

Billin posted the latest update on Park County’s COVID-19 situation on Facebook Sunday night. Always realistic and adamant in his assessment of pandemic realities, this post took a particularly ominous tone.

“We have been watching Utah for some time now,” Billin said. “Utah hospitals are making plans to start rationing healthcare in the next couple of weeks. That means the younger person gets the ventilator and the ICU bed. The situation is already “all hands on deck” at St. John’s in Jackson and Wyoming Medical Center in Casper.”

Cody Regional Health has already stopped taking labs at the Cathcart Medical Center due to the increasing demands on its staff due to COVID-19. It’s the same reason they moved their drive-thru testing to the Cody Stampede Rodeo Grounds and increased the number of days for tests from two to three days per week.

Rationing care isn’t a reality in Park County’s hospitals yet, but Billin shared that there are changes coming to ensure the safety of health professionals as more COVID cases are confirmed and hospitalized.

“We are now regularly issuing modified quarantine orders for Cody Regional Hospital employees so that they can keep working with certain precautions and keep the hospital open. We are getting ready to do the same at Powell Valley Healthcare.”

As of Sunday night’s post, there were 89 active cases in Cody and 47 in Powell. There are 169 active cases in the entire county.

Lab data estimated sample concentrations place the total prevalence of the virus in Cody at 5.6% of the city’s population, making it the clear hot spot in Park County. Powell’s prevalence is 0.8%.

Billin isn’t one to sugar-coat the truth behind the numbers.

“It is one thing to have increased active cases in Park County, but now our hospitals are filling up. Increased deaths lag a couple of weeks behind increased hospitalizations. If you haven’t taken – (1) mask-wearing, (2) social distancing, (3) staying home when you are sick, and (4) cooperating with contact tracing – seriously before now, this is the time to do so.”

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