RAWLINS – The number of Carbon County residents swabbed for COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus, is so far one, the Carbon County Department of Health confirmed on Tuesday. A diagnosis, however, came back negative.
Last week, the person received a nasal and throat swab at Memorial Hospital of Carbon County, which is so far the only place in Rawlins where people can begin the process of corona virus testing.
The testing itself, however, does not actually occur at the Rawlins hospital, according to hospital spokesperson Stephanie Hinkle.
Before anyone can begin the process, they must meet certain priority criteria, Hinkle said in an email sent to the Rawlins Times. This includes having any fever or signs of respiratory illness (cough or shortness of breath).
“We are providing screenings as a precaution to everyone, including employees, as they enter our facilities,” Hinkle stated. “If individuals meet all specific criteria, then a nasal and throat swab is taken and submitted for testing.”
“If both exposure and illness are present, the individual is asked to wear a mask and they are then taken to a separate location to have further clinical assessments done,” Hinkle added.
Once the person is prioritized and accepted, Memorial Hospital follows certain guidelines set in place by the Wyoming Department of Health.
“Testing for hospitalized patients should be performed in an airborne infection isolation room by health care personnel adhering to standard, contact, and airborne precautions, including the use of eye protection,” Wyoming health department Michael A. Ceballos said in a March 13 statement.
All specimens are subsequently sent to the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory in Cheyenne. Meanwhile, the swabbed outpatient is sent home to self-isolate until negative test results are obtained.
Since Monday, nurses covered head to toe in protective garb have guarded main entrances at the Rawlins hospital with body thermometers in hand. They promptly screen anyone who shows up.
As of Tuesday, there were 11 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, WDH spokesperson Kim Deti told the Rawlins Times. This includes eight cases in Fremont County and two in Sheridan.
Hinkle said, however, there are no confirmed cases in Carbon County at this time. And despite the health department’s report that one person in Carbon County was confirmed swabbed, the hospital reported that they’re still waiting on exact numbers.
The Carbon County Department of Health said they intend on holding their second live-stream press conference regarding coronavirus on Friday, which can accessed through the Carbon County Higher Education Center Facebook page. The local department of health office also said they intend on holding press conferences of this nature every week moving forward.
Hinkle said the hospital has implemented a COVID-19 hotline for the public to utilize.
“This is a great way for individuals to speak directly to a clinical staff member of MHCC and have questions answered, including if they should come in for an assessment,” she stated.
The hotline number (307) 321-5765.