SWEETWATER COUNTY — Sweetwater County residents may be tired of hearing and reading about the COVID-19 virus, however Sweetwater County Public Health and other health officials wanted to make it clear the virus hasn’t left the county nor will it anytime soon.
In fact, Sweetwater County currently has more positive cases than any other county in the state at 71 positive cases, Sweetwater County Public Health Officer Dr. Jean Stachon said. While numbers are not as bad as they were back in November and December of 2020, they are higher than they were in June of 2020 when the county was in a full lockdown.
Today, Sweetwater County Public Health officials met for an informational meeting with local elected officials, business and industry leaders, and media representatives to provide a COVID-19 update. It’s been a month since the last meeting and in that time some numbers are concerning local health officials.
In the past two weeks, Sweetwater County has seen two more COVID-19 related deaths. One was in a younger resident under the age of 50, while the other was over the age of 65. Neither of them had received a COVID-19 vaccination prior to their deaths, Dr. Stachon said.
While the state’s 14-day average positivity rate is at 2.4, Sweetwater County’s is at 9.9 percent according to the May 20-June 2 Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) transmission report. This puts the county in the “orange zone,” according to White House Task Force metrics and means the County has a moderate positivity rate. As for transmission rate, the county is in the “red zone,” meaning the county still has high transmission levels.
I’m kind of dismayed that many people think that COVID is done, gone, and over and that we’re not seeing cases or problems anymore, but we really still are.~ Sweetwater County Public Health Officer Dr. Jean Stachon
Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County COVID-19 Incident Commander Kim White agreed with Dr. Stachon about the virus not being over. She said the emergency room has seen an increase in the amount of COVID-19 patients visiting the ER. On Friday, the ER had a total of eight COVID-19 related ER visits, which is something the hospital hasn’t seen all at one time.
“It’s definitely not going away,” White said.
MHSC currently has one COVID-19 related hospitalization, however, White said the hospital has been good about sending residents home with oxygen if they believe they need it.
Sweetwater County Public Health Director Kim Lionberger answered questions from those attending the meeting. Lionberger was asked if there was one area of Sweetwater County that needed more help as far as increasing vaccination participation. Lionberger said she could see if the state could break down that information by zip code, but as far as she is aware no part of the county is standing out.
“The whole county needs help, not just one location,” Lionberger said.
According to the latest information from the WDH, 26.63 percent of all Sweetwater County residents have been vaccinated. Lionberger said roughly 26 percent of the county’s total population is under 18 years old. To see Sweetwater County’s vaccination breakdown by age group click here.
“Right now, our numbers are just not where they are supposed to be,” Dr. Stachon said.
Dr. Stachon, White and Lionberger all encouraged residents to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
“The majority of people turning positive are not immunized,” Dr. Stachon said.
As for Sweetwater County residents who have already been vaccinated and still contracted the virus, they have not been seriously ill, according to Dr. Stachon.