As cases of COVID-19 in the county have risen dramatically, Park County’s public health officer is attributing most of the increase to community spread.
“Contact tracing shows that most of these new cases are due to community transmission,” Dr. Aaron Billin said Monday on Facebook. “That is, this increase is due to spread of COVID-19 already in our county (most are not aware of where they caught it). People are gathering without masks or social distancing.”
In the last five days active cases are up more than 140% to 86 cases – 40 in Cody.
There have been 359 county residents who have had the virus, with 263 recovered and two deceased.
The rise in cases has led to a number of changes at Cody Regional Health, the latest of which was to temporarily shut down laboratory services at Cathcart as the building is being used to accept more patients with respiratory illness.
All Cody Regional Health patients with a doctor’s order will need to receive testing at CRH’s main West Park Hospital campus.
Laboratory hours will still be Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Patients in need of walk-in laboratory testing will now need to arrive at the main entrance of West Park Hospital and be screened in order to enter. Labs will be drawn across from their main laboratory department in the chapel in order to meet staffing demands during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are doing our best to keep our services up and running for the communities benefit, but our team is experiencing a high volume of laboratory testing at the moment,” laboratory director Jeanine Brus said in a release. “With an increase in COVID-19 testing demands we are not able to keep both lab sites running simultaneously. We hope that by moving our testing to one location we can better meet demands.”
So far, the Cody School District has avoided much disruption with few infections reported among students this semester and Billin said contact tracing has not revealed any cases transmitted in the schools.
“However, we are aware that some parents are sending their kids to school sick,” he said. “While some of these are infections that we normally see this time of year (common colds, strep, bronchitis, etc.), we are concerned that this may jeopardize the schools and their extracurricular activities.”
Patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms including shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations or other more serious symptoms should go to the closest ER or call 911.