Health Officer: Sweetwater County Positivity Rate Hovers Around 20 Percent

Health Officer: Sweetwater County Positivity Rate Hovers Around 20 Percent

SweetwaterNOW photo by Stephanie Thompson

ROCK SPRINGS — During a COVID-19 informational meeting Monday, elected officials were given updates from local healthcare providers and public health.

According to Sweetwater County Public Health Officer Dr. Jean Stachon, Sweetwater County has seen an increase of 615 confirmed positive cases in last 2 weeks, which makes up 25 percent of all the COVID-19 positive cases the county has seen since the beginning of the pandemic.

Sweetwater County’s positivity rate is continuing to hover around 20 percent.

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Stachon said there is a downward trend starting across the state and the county is seeing that too.

However, Sweetwater County is second out of all the counties in the amount of positive cases being reported in the state. So far Sweetwater County has 2,460 confirmed cases and 16 deaths. The latest death, which is the county’s 14th death, was reported earlier today. Information on the additional two deaths hasn’t been released yet.

Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County Dr. Cielette Karn said they are running out of COVID-19 tests at the hospital. In particular they are down to 50 Biofire tests. As for rapid tests, there are being saved for patients coming into the hospital, however, Dr. Karn said they are noticing the rapid test is 10 to 20 percent inaccurate at times.

Dr. Karn said she’s concerned that the hospital is going to start running out of COVID-19 tests.

She also stated that in the past week, 707 tests were completed and of those tests 208 were positive.

As for the Curative test, which is an oral swab, the turnaround time for obtaining results is taking longer, especially if it is over the weekend.

Castle Rock Medical Center Pediatrician Dr. Connie Fauntleroy told the group, what is difficult for the center is trying to keep up with calling people with state lab results. The state’s lab results turnaround time is about two to three days. Dr. Fauntleroy said the center still has some rapid tests available. In the past two weeks, 450 tests were completed and of those 27 percent positive.

MHSC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Melinda Poyer said the hospital currently has five patients hospitalized and two of those patients will be discharged soon.

Two COVID-19 patients who were recently hospitalized were transferred to Salt Lake City. The hospital is still seeing a lot of COVID-19 patients coming to the ER for treatment.

Contract tracing

Sweetwater County Public Health nurse Trista Cross said they are up to nearly 60 positive cases a day they need to give isolation and quarantine orders to.

Even with 27 part-time and one full-time contract tracer, they cannot keep up. She said they are about three days behind in calling someone who has tested positive.

Dr. Stachon said that since they are having a hard time keeping up, some of these people who tested positive are almost out of isolation or getting close to it before they even have an opportunity to talk to them.

She encourages residents to start their own isolations and quarantines if they think they are positive or have received a positive test results. The information on isolation and quarantine orders is available at the Wyoming Department of Health website.

For specific needs or questions the public may also email public health at


What to do if you feel sick: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are showing symptoms, please call your primary care provider or seek medical attention.

Please follow these tips to slow the spread of this virus:

  • Follow Public Health Orders
  • Practice social distancing of 6 feet or more.
  • Wear cloth face coverings in public settings, especially when physical distancing of at least 6 feet isn’t available.
  • Stay home when sick and avoid other people unless you need medical attention.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Older people and those with health conditions that mean they have a higher chance of getting seriously ill should avoid close-contact situations.
  • Long-term care and healthcare facilities should follow guidelines for infection control and prevention.

For current news, updates, closures and resources, please visit our COVID-19 Coronavirus page here.