The following statement was released Thursday evening by Dr. Jessica Hughes, Emergency Department medical director at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center:
“Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, like most hospitals in the nation, has been affected by the national shortage of testing supplies required to test for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This national shortage has limited the ability of CRMC to collect samples to send to the Wyoming Department of Health for COVID-19 testing. As we continue to work with our local and state health departments, we are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and are judiciously limiting our testing for COVID-19 consistent with the federal recommendations.
“When a patient arrives at the Emergency Department at CRMC, our clinical team, composed of physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and registered nurses, will obtain a detailed history and perform a physical examination. Based on these findings and use of clinical judgment, the clinical team will determine if COVID-19 testing is indicated.
“In accordance with the state health department, our priorities for testing currently include patients requiring hospitalization with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, patients that have chronic medical conditions or are immunocompromised and have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and any person, including health care personnel, that has had close contact with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patient or has a history of travel from the high-risk areas.
“In order to reduce exposure and transmission of COVID-19 to our staff or other patients in the Emergency Department, we are requesting that any patient with a mild flu-like illness stay home and call their health care provider for further guidance.
“We would like any patient experiencing more severe respiratory symptoms necessitating evaluation and treatment in the Emergency Department (symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath) to call the main hospital number (307-634-2273) ahead of time to let our Emergency Department staff know they are coming to our ED. That will give our ED staff time for adequate preparation.
“Due to the high transmission rate of COVID-19, we are also asking that all patients enter through the main Emergency Department entrance and not walk through the hospital, to reduce transmission of this illness.
“CRMC is committed to taking care of our patients and community, and we have worked hard to create protocols and designated isolation areas to care for and test our patients while protecting our staff and other patients from being exposed to COVID-19.”