SWEETWATER COUNTY — As the local spread of the novel coronavirus no longer appears an immediate threat to the county’s healthcare system and the state continues to loosen restrictions on everyday life, the Sweetwater County COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center (EOC) today announced its plans to demobilize to a standby status.
Activated in mid-March of this year to collectively manage the county’s response to a potential public health emergency, the center has served as headquarters for a multitude of local agencies and entities, including county health, the hospital, emergency first responders and local elected and government officials – all working together to distribute critical information and address logistical issues related to the possible local impact of the virus.
In its three months of operation, the EOC procured and distributed a total of 3,450 N95 masks, 220 3D-printed reusable N95 masks, 5,280 surgical masks, 185 face shields, 2,500 isolation gowns and approximately 250 gallons of hand sanitizer to over 20 different entities across the county including local nursing homes, the hospital, home health agencies and emergency first responders.
The EOC’s unified command team executed memoranda of understanding with both Western Wyoming Community College and the Sweetwater Events Complex to make a portion of their facilities available if necessary as part of the county’s emergency response.
In concert with public health officials, the EOC also helped to facilitate an expanded testing program, including diagnostic and antibody testing for COVID-19, at minimal to no cost to the patient. To date, Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County has conducted a total of 1,103 COVID-19 tests with 16 positive cases, 1,058 returned negative and 29 pending results; Castle Rock Medical Center has conducted a total of 156 tests with 2 positive cases, 147 returned negative and 7 pending results.
The EOC’s public information team established a website, social media page, telephone system and local radio stations dedicated to local public health and safety updates. They provided a daily situation report to the media and public detailing the latest local developments and activities of the EOC. At the height of its operations, they also conducted multiple live press briefings streamed online to the public featuring public health, hospital, local government officials and an interview with one of Sweetwater County’s lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 patients.
The EOC’s organizational structure will remain in place in the event there is a need to resume active emergency operations.
The EOC’s Public Information Office will remain operational on a limited basis, as needed and in support of county public health’s continued efforts in battling the pandemic.
Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County will also continue to operate its COVID-19 Preparedness Incident Command team, which is led by Incident Commander Kim White.
The EOC and MHSC Incident Command Public Information Offices will no longer be active on the weekends, unless there is emergent news.
Any COVID-19-related case updates that occur over the weekend will now be made publicly available on Mondays by the MHSC and Sweetwater County Public Health.
For the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend, any COVID-19-related updates will be made publicly available on Wednesday afternoon, May 27.