St. John’s Health reports increase in COVID cases, regular business

JACKSON, Wyo. — Business is booming in town and, unfortunately, at the hospital.

As Jackson Hole has become busier this summer with visitors, residents, and their families, St. John’s Health reports it’s gotten busier as well.

“We are taking care of many people with a wide range of minor and major illnesses and injuries, and fortunately we are also beginning to see more patients coming in for the routine preventative appointments that are so critical to maintaining your health,” said CEO Dr. Paul Beaupré in his weekly CEO update Friday afternoon. “Though I am proud that our team is currently able to meet the need for this kind of medical care, the record number of 99 new COVID cases in Teton County over the last two weeks raises some serious concerns.

St. John’s is “again very busy” taking care of COVID patients, Beaupré said. As of Friday, the hospital has admitted seven COVID patients ranging from ages 32 to 79.

“We currently have occupancy to care for additional patients, but we are beginning to look at expanded surge capacity should it become necessary,” Beaupré said.

Larger regional hospitals have said they still have the capacity to take Jackson patients if someone is ill enough to require a transfer.

St. John’s also had the highest volume of calls to the telehealth line on record — 258 — last Saturday

Despite the crowds of visitors in Teton County, Beaupré said many of the recent COVID cases are local, thanks, in part, to “summertime socialization.” Beaupré urged residents to limit their social circles and avoid parties and gatherings.

“I am convinced that a shift in our own behaviors can reverse this unstable trend,” he said. “In order to avoid new restrictions and governmental orders, to keep our businesses open, and to help our children and teachers return to school this fall, we must see a change in direction soon.”

Testing is perhaps the biggest concern at St. John’s, Beaupré said. The volume of tests that can be done on-site is limited, and such tests are reserved for “the most vulnerable people,” which means that many people will have to wait for their test results from reference labs.

Teton County Health Department Director Jodie Pond also admitted that the Health Department has reached its limit with testing.  Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate and quarantine regardless of test results until 10 days after symptom onset and after fever/symptoms have been gone for at least 24 hours. Anyone who has had significant exposure to someone with COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days. The Health Department will contact you if you have had significant a positive case.

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