St. John's Health

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Some St. John’s Health Living Center residents, hospitalized for COVID-19, might be able to move home soon.

The residents might be past the infectious period, as long as their case wasn’t severe, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, because a little over two weeks has passed since they first tested positive.

“Over the next several days, if none deteriorate they will be slowly moved back into the Living Center,” CEO Dr. Paul Beaupre said Tuesday.

St. John’s has dealt with a high number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past two weeks. Most have been due to the influx of Living Center residents. Hospitalizations are one metric that played into the Teton County Health Department’s decision to elevate the county’s risk level to red last week.

Beaupre said he hopes that as residents transition back to the Living Center, the countywide risk will drop because hospital capacity will not be stretched so thin.

“That may help us actually move to a different level,” he said at Friday’s community update.

Before being transferred back to the Living Center, residents must be asymptomatic and have completed quarantine for the virus, which can last up to 20 days. As the transition begins, St. John’s has set up negative pressure rooms at the Living Center for any resident that staff might be worried about. That would include residents who so far have tested negative for the virus but had significant exposure to someone who tested positive.

St. John’s had nine patients in the primary care unit as of Tuesday afternoon, with one Living Center patient in the intensive care unit. Beaupre said all were “medically stable,” including the one in the ICU, who was transferred due to low oxygen levels.

The hospital has also transferred two patients in recent days to regional hospitals. Its standard practice over the pandemic has been to transfer out patients who need to be put on ventilators because those patients often need additional care that larger hospitals are better equipped to provide.

The county had 54 active cases Tuesday, according to the Wyoming Department of Health, with four new cases reported in the last 24 hours. The JHCovid.com dashboard showed 154 people under quarantine orders. The county’s rate of new daily cases per 100,000 people remains in the red zone at 28, according to the Harvard Global Health Initiative.

The state is also now in the red zone. Wyoming has a new daily case rate of 27.3 per 100,000 people — 12th-highest in the nation.

On Tuesday, Wyoming updated its total coronavirus-related deaths to 57, including a Lincoln County man, who died earlier this month after being hospitalized.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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