closeup photo of 100 US dollar banknotes
Gov. Mark Gordon has allocated a total of $30 million for health care facilities to help combat the recent surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Photo: Pepi Stojanovski

CHEYENNE, Wyo. –  Governor Mark Gordon announced yesterday Sept. 8, that his office is taking steps to address staffing challenges at Wyoming healthcare facilities amidst a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The Governor is deploying Federal funding to provide staffing relief and support for current healthcare staff and to secure traveling medical staff.

“Wyoming’s healthcare system and healthcare workers, in every community, are feeling the strain of this surge,” Gordon said in a statement released by his office. “We need to recognize our healthcare workers’ commitment to caring for our neighbors during the pandemic. They are working extra long hours and at times having to cover for sick colleagues. These are very stressful times for all of us, but particularly those in the healthcare industry. This is a means to thank them and to try to make sure we can keep them on the job.”

The Governor has allocated $20 million to be utilized by facilities on a discretionary basis to stabilize staffing levels. The funding is available to fill staffing shortages, provide hazard pay, and strengthen recruitment efforts for the state’s existing healthcare workforce. An additional $10 million will be available to privately-owned Wyoming hospitals and long-term care facilities for traveling medical staff through a contract with the Wyoming Hospital Association. Nonprofit and county-owned hospitals that have secured their own traveling medical staff will continue to be eligible for 100% reimbursement through FEMA funding.

According to the statement, the Governor will also pursue additional options to support healthcare providers during the surge, including the utilization of Wyoming National Guard members as needed.

As of Sept. 7, Wyoming hospitals reported a total of 230 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, nearly as many as were hospitalized during the peak of the last surge in Nov. 2020. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that those who are fully vaccinated have a dramatically reduced risk of requiring hospitalization for a coronavirus infection.

Vaccines are available in Teton County by appointment only. Third doses are available for the immunocompromised population. Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline at 1-800-232-0233.

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Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.