Campbell County, The City of Gillette and Campbell County Health have received a number of questions from the public on a wide range of topics related to COVID-19 and our community. We have worked together to provide answers to the most common questions we are currently receiving.
Who gets tested for COVID 19?
The Wyoming Department of Health issued updated testing priorities for COVID 19 on Thursday, April 2. The Wyoming Public Health Laboratory will no longer accept samples for patients who do not fall within the priority categories. The testing priorities are:
- Hospitalized patients (including hospitalized patients being tested prior to discharge to a long-term care facility)
- Patients or staff in communal settings such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities or shelters
- Healthcare workers and first responders who provide direct patient care
- People over 65 or with underlying health conditions that put them at risk for severe illness
- People who have close contact with people who are over 65 or who have underlying health conditions
- Pregnant women
The Wyoming Department of Health has requested that Wyoming healthcare providers send samples for other patients to private laboratories.
If you are feeling anxious about not being able to get tested, remember that testing does not change the treatment. If you have symptoms (commonly including fever, dry cough and shortness of breath) related to COVID 19, stay home. You can always call your healthcare provider or 688-1000, with questions.
Why aren’t more people being tested for COVID 19?
Campbell County Health (CCH) and other private providers have limited testing availability. Still, they are testing according to the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory guidelines. Eventually, the supplies to increase testing will become available, but as of today, no one truly has a definite time frame. Test results may take 48 hours or longer to be processed by a laboratory.
Does Campbell County Health have enough personal protective equipment for staff?
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is in short supply around the world. PPE are things like masks, gowns, gloves, and PAPR (powered, air-purifying respirator). CCH is exhausting every resource possible to obtain needed PPE, and we have been successful to a limited degree. We have also received significant donations from our community and are extremely grateful for that. CCH has also found several ways to extend the life of PPE and clean it appropriately so it can be reused. Still, PPE is in short supply, so we have to be incredibly careful in our usage and planning.
Does CCH have enough ventilators?
Ventilators are machines used to help a patient breathe by inserting a tube (what we call intubation) into a patient’s airway, and the ventilator takes over the patient’s respirations. CCH has a reasonable inventory of ventilators for a hospital our size. However, it is not just a ventilator that is needed, but the human resources to watch and adjust the ventilator, and to take care of the patient. It is a last resort effort to sustain a patient who can’t breathe on their own. It is not to be used for most patients. Ventilators are currently in short supply worldwide, and most of the ventilators in the US are currently going to the most needed areas, such as New York, LA, Michigan, and Seattle.
Why are we seeing workers at the hospital wearing different kinds of masks?
CCH employees and medical staff have been working diligently on a plan for the use and reuse of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as masks. One of the guidelines coming from this group is that all employees and healthcare providers will wear a mask while at the hospital. There are different requirements and types of masks that will be used, depending on their specific job duties. Some employees will be wearing masks made and donated by people in the community.
Are there still mental health resources available in the community?
This is a difficult time in our community and our country, to say the least. There are a number of resources available for the community. If you feel you need immediate assistance, there are a number of resources available:
- Text Wyo to 747-747
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: (800) 273-8255
- Disaster Distress National Hotline: (800) 985-5990
- Domestic Violence Crisis Line 24/7: (307) 686-8070
- App: Safe2Tell Wyoming
- (844) 996-7233
CCH is offering telephone and virtual visits for current Behavioral Health patients or potential patients. Information on scheduling a telephone or virtual appointment can be made by calling 307.688.5000. The Behavioral Health Crisis line is available after 5 pm and on weekends by calling 688-5050, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress at 1-800-273-8255.
What if I need to see a doctor for a medical problem other than a potential case of COVID 19?
The need for other types of medical care does not go away, even during the COVID 19 pandemic. People should continue to call their healthcare provider if they need medical care or call 911 in an emergency. Healthcare providers have adapted to the current situation to help their patients receive the care they need.
Most of CCH’s outpatient clinics, including the Walk-in Clinic, have the ability to do telephone or virtual visits. You can speak with a healthcare provider who will do an assessment, make a diagnosis, and can prescribe medication or other treatment for you. They can also give you advice on what additional steps to take if your condition worsens. Call your specific clinic for more information or visit www.cchwyo.org/virtual.
If you do not have a medical provider, contact Campbell County Public Health for a list of doctors in the Campbell County, Wyoming community at 307-682-7275. You can also visit www.cchwyo.org/findadoc for a list of CCH healthcare providers.
Are there enough healthcare workers to be able to care for patients?
The most valuable component of our fight against COVID 19 is our people. Doctors, nurses, CNAs, respiratory therapists, lab technicians, and the entire team at CCH and Public Health. All of our staff are in this fight for our community. We have been asked many times how the community can support our healthcare workforce, and that answer is simple. STAY HOME!
CCH Administration has been asked, “what are we doing to prevent our hospital from being overwhelmed?” The most important effort in this battle is each individual community member. Each of us can act prudently and adhere to social distancing guidelines, or we make the risky choice to ignore those warnings. Going shopping or attending family gatherings as though there were no consequences are precisely the actions that could overwhelm the hospital. If you genuinely want to help CCH, healthcare workers, and Public Health in this battle, STAY HOME!
Will our Hospital and Community Survive this pandemic?
The answer is a resounding yes, but not without some battle scars and casualties. There will be a time when we look back on this national and community disaster and begin living life normally again. We will learn what we didn’t do well on a local, state, national, and international basis. None of us have ever been through something like this, so everyone will be able to learn as we look back. All of us will learn many lessons from this experience. The lessons we learn will help us in planning for future events like this one. The most important lesson of all is to remember how precious and tenuous life is. Life is worth the sacrifice each of us is making today, so more of us have a healthy tomorrow. Join healthcare in this fight and stay home!