COVID-19 death toll in Wyoming rises 55 | Wyoming News – Community News
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COVID-19 death toll in Wyoming rises 55 | Wyoming News

Star-Tribune staff

Fifty-five Wyomingites have died from COVID-19, the Wyoming Department of Health reported Tuesday.

Last week, the state announced 69 deaths — the highest weekly update reported in 2021.

This fall has been one of the deadliest periods for COVID-19-related illness since the Wyoming pandemic began.

There have now been 1,298 coronavirus-caused deaths in Wyoming since the pandemic arrived here in March 2020. Thirty percent of those deaths were reported after September 1 this year.

Fifty of the new deaths occurred in October. Four happened in the past week.

The state does not include a death in its COVID-19 count unless the virus is listed on the patient’s death certificate as a cause of death or a contributing factor. There is often a delay between when deaths occur and when deaths are reported due to the time it takes to process death certificates.

Forty-five of the 55 people were hospitalized prior to their deaths, 12 out of state. Thirty-six people had underlying health conditions that increased their risk for COVID-19.

Of the 18 counties that saw an increase in deaths, Fremont, Natrona and Park counties suffered with nine new deaths each. Campbell County added five new deaths. Laramie and Sweetwater counties added three each. Big Horn, Crook, Niobrara, Sheridan and Uinta counties each added two new deaths. Albany, Converse, Goshen, Lincoln, Platte, Sublette, and Weston counties each added one.

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The number of deaths has fallen dramatically this spring, and since mid-March the number has been reported weekly in single digits. But the trend has not lasted. The numbers have reached what they were in early winter, when the state recorded more than 50 deaths a week.

The infections with COVID-19 had also fallen sharply since the winter wave. But hospital admissions have remained high since September. On Monday, 172 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in Wyoming. That number peaked at 249 hospital admissions in October. In comparison, in early spring there were periods with fewer than 20 hospital admissions per day.

Officials have said they expect more deaths in the coming weeks.

The state health service does not release the vaccine status of every hospitalized patient, but has said about 95% of recent hospitalizations are unvaccinated.

A more contagious strain of the virus has led federal and state officials to again recommend wearing face masks in areas with low vaccination coverage and moderate to high virus transmission.

Wyoming hospitals continue to report staff and resource overloads. Twelve hospitals reported critical staff shortages to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday.

Governor Mark Gordon has said his office will no longer be carrying out any mandates or closings. Gordon said he encourages residents to get vaccinated, but the decision is “intensely personal” and he is not planning any interventions to increase uptake.

Wyoming’s vaccination rate remains the second lowest in the nation, with 44% of the state fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Only West Virginia has a worse rate of 41%.

According to polls by the US Census Bureau, unvaccinated Wyomingites are also the most reluctant in the country to accept or give the injections to their children.

More than 268,000 residents have so far received at least one vaccine dose as of Monday. Nearly 45,000 booster doses have been given.

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