Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit on the phone with Tim Thornell, the President and CEO of Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (CRMC). Their hospital is on the front lines of diagnosing and treating residents of Laramie County with COVID-19.
Below are some of the key questions I posed and summaries of answers from Tim. Please note these answers are only summaries, edited for length and clarity.
I hope you’ll join me in continuing to support hospitals and healthcare workers across the state who are keeping Wyoming citizens healthy and protected during this difficult time.
CL: How are you and your team at CRMC doing?
TT: The medical and administrative staff at CRMC are doing well, working long hours and taking extra precautions to stay healthy. All staff enter through one entrance at the hospital where they are screened daily with a temperature check and a series of questions.
The health and well-being of our staff is paramount, especially since we have not seen the peak here in Wyoming and we will need our medical professionals to be healthy at that time. CRMC began complying with CDC guidelines early on. To the extent possible, outpatient physicians are working from home, performing telephone and virtual visits. We have rotations in place among several of the medical staff to keep them as socially distant possible.
CL: Do you have enough supplies.
Right now, yes, we have adequate supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE). However, we are being very conservative in our use of PPE. We have enough supplies for today, but we do not know when Wyoming will peak and if our supplies will be sufficient at that time.
CL: Do you have any update on the status of treatments?
Blood plasma is in the testing phase right now. CRMC is looking to John Hopkins University where they are running trials.
CL: What about hydroxychloroquine?
CRMC has some in stock at the hospital since it is used to treat things like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, but we do not keep a huge supply.
CL: What is the status of patients in Laramie County?
As of today (Wednesday, April 8), there are four COVID-19 positive patients at CRMC. All are stable and doing well. One other COVID-19 positive patient has been discharged and is self-quarantining at home.
CL: If you get COVID-19 once, does it make you immune?
We don’t know for sure.
CL: What do we know about when the peak will be in Wyoming?
We don’t know for sure when we will peak in Wyoming. The best model we have seen was developed by the University of Washington and based on this model, Wyoming would peak April 29.
CL: What can we do in the meantime?
For every protocol that has been issued, be it washing hands, staying a home, social distancing, and so on – take one more step. Wash your hands an extra time, think through whether you need to go out, or if two people in the same family really need to go to the store. We can all get out less. Take one more step in your decision-making with these protocols.
Bonus: Tim says washing your hands with soap and water is better than hand sanitizer!
CL: How is the community helping the hospital and healthcare workers?
There has been an outpouring of support from the community. Over 1,200 homemade masks were donated to the hospital by people in Cheyenne. The hospital is extraordinarily thankful for that – and we could still use more! Donations come through the foundation, are quarantined for three days, and then put to work!
People are also buying and contributing food from local restaurants. Hospital staff don’t leave on breaks, so this food gives them some variety while supporting local restaurants.
Also, good old fashioned thank you notes to healthcare workers you know personally mean a great deal too. Thoughts & prayers as well!
For more information on supporting CRMC, click here.
Team Lummis was pleased to provide sandwiches, chips and cookies to CRMC staff this week. We are so grateful for all that you do!