COVID-19 Cases Up 894% in County, Resources Strained

Campbell County Public Health building in Gillette (County 17 Photo/Taylor Helton)
Campbell County Public Health building in Gillette (County 17 Photo/Taylor Helton)

A spike in new coronavirus cases both in Campbell County and throughout the state has put a major squeeze on public health’s ability to carry out contact tracing.

In a Tuesday release from Campbell County Public Health (CCPH), Campbell County Public Information Officer Ivy Castleberry noted a marked increase in new COVID-19 cases over the past 30 days from 70 active cases on Oct. 5 to 696 one month later – an 894% increase. Since the beginning of October, Campbell County has likewise averaged 33 new lab-confirmed cases per day.

With each new case averaging about five known contacts, this means that CCPH is up against notifying up to 165 people per day, Castleberry said.

Given the increased volume, WDH is now directing those who may have come contact with a positive case to the Wyoming Department of Health for guidance.

“The large number of contacts requiring tracing has overwhelmed public health offices across the state,” Dr. Alexis Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH, said in a prior release, “[making] it challenging for state and county public health representatives to handle the volume of contact tracing calls and related activities as quickly as they were able to at earlier points.”

CCPH encouraged residents to follow public health and social distancing protocols to prevent the spread of the virus.

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Positivity rates both within the county and state have risen dramatically over the past few months, averaging a rate of nearly 8% in Campbell County, with an increase of more than 25% since early September, Castleberry said. Likewise, the statewide positivity rate has risen over the same period, increasing from 5% to 10%.

Campbell County Epi Curve showing symptom onset or specimen collection data for confirmed COVID-19 cases (Nov. 10, 2020 1:38 p.m.) (Courtesy of Wyoming Department of Health/Public Domain)
Campbell County Epi Curve showing symptom onset or specimen collection data for confirmed COVID-19 cases (Nov. 10, 2020 1:38 p.m.) (Courtesy of Wyoming Department of Health/Public Domain)

The number of patients being hospitalized has put a strain on facilities, with the number of patients hospitalized increasing from 36 on Oct. 5 up to 134 patients on Nov. 5 for an increase of 272% percent. Over that same period, patients hospitalized in Campbell County rose from one to eight by Nov. 8.

Thus far, five people in the county have died as a result of complications stemming from the coronavirus, per WDH.

Currently, CCPH is monitoring 863 active cases with 30 of those reported within the last 24 hours. As of Tuesday afternoon, there have been 1,504 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Campbell County since the pandemic began and an additional 126 probables with 686 total recoveries, per WDH. Of these total cases, 45% have been patients 18 years old and younger, accounting for 526.

Campbell County COVID-19 Lab Confirmed Cases by Age Group (Nov. 10, 2020 1:38 p.m.) (Courtesy of Wyoming Department of Health/Public Domain)
Campbell County COVID-19 Lab Confirmed Cases by Age Group (Nov. 10, 2020 1:38 p.m.) (Courtesy of Wyoming Department of Health/Public Domain)

Given the volume in new cases, WDH is offering free at-home contact tracing. To request a mail order Vault saliva test, click here. Note that when ordering, the $150 fee for the test will be waived for Wyoming residents upon completion of the order.