During the late summer surge of cases, the average age of a person who went to Cody Regional Health’s emergency department with COVID was 58. The person was also very likely to be unvaccinated.

Last Wednesday night at the West Park Hospital board meeting, hospital chief clinical officer Keith Ungrund said after seeing Billings Clinic break down the information about whom they were seeing for COVID, CRH staff decided to do the same thing.

The resulting stats for August show that younger people are experiencing more severe effects from COVID, but that elderly residents are still most likely to be hospitalized (average age of 67, with ages ranging 32-97).

And it shows that most people going to the emergency department and being admitted are unvaccinated.

During the month of August, 119 of those who went to the emergency department were unvaccinated and 23 vaccinated. Ages ranged from 97 years old to just 8 months old.

Among those who were hospitalized, 41 were unvaccinated and 11 vaccinated.

As of Thursday, Cody Regional had 11 people hospitalized for COVID, with no ICU beds open.

It’s taxing an already busy hospital, which during the summer also dealt with an increase of tourists and people coming in for a variety of other illnesses as well.

“The past three weeks, we continue to see high volumes. The emergency department I think is seeing record-breaking numbers,” Ungrund said.

The surge of COVID patients and the spread of virus in the community recently have taken their toll on hospital staff as well. Ungrund said 9-13 employees have been out weekly due to either testing positive for COVID or exposed to someone positive.

Chief financial officer Hannah McRae said the surge has also strained hospital finances. She said contrary to public perception, hospitals do not make more money from COVID patients, and these patients cost more as nurses need to work more overtime to care for them. The surge has also led to elective surgical appointments – a revenue-generator for the hospital – being postponed.

Ungrund said so many beds have been full in critical care that they have a plan to make COVID beds double occupancy as needed, although they have not had to do that yet.

(7) comments

Larry Gerber

Will there be any booster clinics?

Viv McCord

Define Fully vaccinated, is it One shot? Or 2 shots, but not 2 weeks out from that? Or is it 3 shots and 2 weeks out? Are all these people having adverse reactions not included? Please be transparent.

Matt Winslow

I agree that it would be helpful if they would expressly state how many hospital beds are filled with people having adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines, even if that number is zero. It would help people better understand where the risks lie.

Charles Johnson

Why are you so interested in what the numbers are for Park County when you can look up the complication rates for the vaccine for the entire country where nearly 400 million doses have been given out. Here's a link... Long story short, your chances of serious complications are one in a couple million. Given the population of Park County, I'd be willing to bet there are zero cases of serious adverse reactions in the hospital.

Matt Winslow

I appreciate your point, but I think there is a lot of distrust in our country and community right now, and many people are uncomfortable relying on national data. I think it would help better communicate the information to put it in the context of our own community, for example, "Since March of 2020, Park County has seen: X ER visits for COVID 19, and 0 for complications from the vaccines; Y hospitalizations for COVID 19 and 0 for complications from the vaccines; Z deaths due to COVID 19 and 0 due to complications from the vaccines."

Pete Demoney

Gee, let's act surprised. Is it because the vaccination makes people invisible and magnetic? They are there, we just can't see them?

Matt Winslow

My hat is off to you, sir.

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