Sweetwater County Sees Record COVID-19 Hospitalizations

The county's positivity rate is at 17.4 percent.
Sweetwater County Sees Record COVID-19 Hospitalizations

White COVID-19 Coronavirus swabbing tents are now located in front of the Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County. MHSC photo

SWEETWATER COUNTY — Sweetwater County’s COVID-19 Coronavirus positivity rate numbers have decreased slightly to 17.4 percent, but it is still leading the state. The county also saw a record high 10 COVID-19 Coronavirus-related hospitalizations on Christmas.

Sweetwater County Public Health Officer Dr. Jean Stachon updated the county’s COVID-19 Coronavirus numbers during an informational meeting today with local officials.

Stachon said Sweetwater County has about 2,900 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Currently, there are 220 active cases. Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County currently reports eight hospitalizations.

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Two Sweetwater County patients were transferred to the University of Utah and two were transferred to long-term acute care facilities in Salt Lake City. Sweetwater County unofficially has 19 COVID-19 related deaths. Two residents died on December 21 and two more died around Christmas.

“The last four haven’t been recorded through the state yet,” Dr. Stachon said.

An all-time high 10 COVID-19 hospitalized patients was reported on Christmas Eve, according to MHSC Incident Commander and COVID-19 Preparedness and Clinical Documentation Specialist Kim White. MHSC only has nine intensive care unit beds available at this time.

The state is following the transmission indicators developed by White House COVID-19 Task Force Guidelines. This allows the state to determine which counties can request variances.

“Sweetwater County doesn’t have to worry about that right now,” Dr. Stachon said.

The metrics go from dark red, with transmissions being very high to the lowest transmission rate, which is dark green. Sweetwater County is in dark red for transmission meaning it has over 1,000 cases per 100,000 residents. Sweetwater, Campbell and Washakie Counties are all dark red.

“We are the only three counties in the state that are dark red,” Dr. Stachon said.

We rank the highest in the state right now at 17.4 percent positivity rates.

~ Sweetwater County Public Health Officer Dr. Jean Stachon

Washakie is at about 14 percent and most of the other counties are close to 12 percent. A county must reach a four percent positivity rate before it’s moved into a green zone. Currently, seven counties in Wyoming are in the green zone which allows them to receive variance request approvals.

“In terms of anyone wanting to do variances, I can guarantee that Dr. Harrist won’t approve any for our county at this point,” Dr. Stachon said. Dr. Alexia Harrist is the State Health Officer and State Epidemiologist.

She said some Sweetwater County bars have asked for a variance to stay open for its regular hours on New Year’s Eve, but Dr. Stachon said Dr. Harrist won’t even consider it with a 17.4 positivity rate.

“I do think our numbers are coming down, but they are still on the high side,” Dr. Stachon said.

Dr. Stachon anticipates Governor Mark Gordon will be coming out with more public health orders when the current orders expire on January 8.

“Masking is going to be important until we’ve got herd immunity and everything under control and I don’t see that happening until into spring,” Dr. Stachon said. “That’s just a best guess.”


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.