Coronavirus testing

Britt Krull, a registered nurse at St. John’s Health, collects a sample from a patient for a COVID-19 test at medical tent outside the hospital on May 8.

St. John’s Health had zero patients being treated for COVID-19 in the hospital Friday.

That shows the community’s successful response to the pandemic, hospital CEO Paul Beaupre said during Friday’s weekly community update, which was livestreamed from Town Hall. Models had predicted that this week could see a surge in cases in Wyoming and Teton County.

“I don’t think that those models were wrong,” Beaupre said. “I think that all of the sacrifices that all of you have made in sheltering in place, in social distancing and wearing masks in public have made a remarkable difference in where we are today versus where we were predicted to be.”

Beaupre also stressed that the hospital can safely handle non-COVID-19 cases. The hospital tests all patients prior to elective surgeries and plans to start randomly testing asymptomatic staff, he said.

He described one surgeon who saw four patients with ruptured appendixes in the past month; he typically sees less than one a year.

“People are putting off necessary health care,” Beaupre said, urging people not to wait.

The Teton County Health Department’s Rachael Wheeler encouraged residents to get tested, even if their symptoms are mild. The department has vouchers for people who need help covering the cost.

Contact Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington at 732-7078 or

Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington has worked for newspapers across the West. She hosts a rescue podcast, The Fine Line. Her family minivan doubles as her not-so-high-tech recording studio.

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