In the last 24 hours, Sheridan County has added another 22 lab confirmed positive cases to the total of 2,960 total lab confirmed cases in the county since the pandemic began.
Sheridan has 130 positive lab confirmed cases active in the community and 60 probable cases. The term “lab confirmed” refers to cases tested using the PCR test. The term “probable” refers to individuals tested using the antigen test. Due to the increased chance of a false-negative in the antigen tests, the Wyoming Department of Health does not recognize these as “lab confirmed.” In some cases, a doctor may follow-up with a PCR test if they feel it is appropriate.
Currently 12 Sheridan County residents are hospitalized suffering from the virus. Thirty-three Sheridan County residents have died from COVID-19.
Over the weekend, Sheridan Memorial Hospital experienced an influx of COVID-19 patients requiring care. This resulted in patients needing care for other illnesses and conditions having to be sent to other hospitals in the region. But those were full of COVID-19 patients. Recently, with the Intensive Care Unit at full capacity, Sheridan Memorial was forced to board ICU patients in the Emergency Department.
This is not an acceptable standard of care and certainly not a sustainable standard of care according to Sheridan Memorial Chief Executive Officer Mike McCafferty. Hospitals all over the region and the nation are facing similar situations.
This has left SMH in a compromising situation. In one case, a patient suffering from a life-threatening neurological situation required a higher level of care than SMH is able to currently provide. In better times, a transfer would have been an easy and quick procedure. But the hospital in Billings, MT. was full and it took a great effort by the team at SMH to convince Billing’s hospital to accept the patient even though doing so put the Billing’s hospital above their capacity.
In another recent situation, a patient required care but hospitals are full from within and beyond the region. Dr. Ian Hunter had to transfer the patient to as far away as Seattle, WA. to receive care.
With the surges of hospitalizations due to COVID-19, the surges of residents seeking testing, (up to a hundred in a single day) and the inability to provide the proper care needed to residents suffering from ailments and injuries other than COVID-19, staff are exhausted.
As misinformation and anti-vaccination campaigns rage an information war on the healthcare system, doctors and nurses are working long hours, enduring stressful and sometimes heartbreaking situations to keep up with the demand, all the while having their training and expertise not only questioned but outright disbelieved. Staff are becoming demoralized.
Sheridan Memorial Hospital Dr. Kristopher Schamber has been on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.
The duties performed by SMH staff on a typical day are difficult, now COVID-19 has begun to drain the staff and the standard of support and patient care the hospital is nationally known to regularly provide.
The CDC lists Sheridan County’s level of community transmission as HIGH. As of Aug. 30, the Wyoming Department of Health lists Sheridan County’s level of vaccination at 37.6%.