Wyoming Medical Center is no longer allowing visitation at its hospital or clinics amid an ongoing and growing COVID-19 surge in the community.
The hospital announced the new policy in a press release last Wednesday.
“These are unprecedented times, and we are taking this very rare action to help ensure patient safety as well as the safety of their loved ones, caregivers and community members,” the release reads.
The hospital will allow patients under 18 years old to be accompanied by one adult and laboring mothers to have one support person, but otherwise all visitation at the facilities will be on hold until further notice.
Casper’s hospital — the largest in the state — had 27 COVID-19 patients as of Oct. 27, nearly double the number of coronavirus patients hospitalized two weeks ago.
Interim hospital CEO Dr. J.J. Bleicher told the Star-Tribune last week that he anticipates “exponential” growth in the number of patients being cared for at WMC.
The hospital has made room for up to 70 COVID-19 patients and has doubled up single-person rooms elsewhere in the hospital to accommodate extra patients.
There are more than 400 active, confirmed virus cases in Natrona County alone, and Wyoming for the first time this week surpassed 3,000 active cases. Wyoming is among the five worst states for new cases per 100,000 residents over the past week, according to New York Times data.
Local and state leaders have urged residents to wear face masks and social distance to limit the virus’s spread.
Casper Mayor Steve Freel in a press conference two weeks ago admonished residents who argue that wearing a face mask is an infringement on their rights.
“Is it my personal right to drink and drive and put someone else’s life at risk?” Freel asked rhetorically, adding that those who choose not to wear face coverings don’t have a right to put others in danger. “Their rights end when their choices harm others.”
Gov. Mark Gordon a day earlier also asked residents to abide the use of face masks but did not suggest any additional restrictions would be imposed by the state.