An unprecedented surge of patients has forced Cheyenne Regional Medical Center to activate its contingency plans, President and CEO Tim Thornell said Monday.

Thornell issued the following message:

Like many hospitals in our region, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (CRMC) is experiencing an unprecedented surge of patients. The surge is due to an increasing number of community members having a variety of illnesses and emergencies, including COVID-19, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and other illnesses.

Because of this surge, CRMC is having to “board” and care for patients in our emergency department until an inpatient room becomes available and that can take a prolonged period of time.

On November 4, CRMC had over 20 patients waiting to be admitted to CRMC’s inpatient units who were being boarded in our emergency department. This morning CRMC had 11 patients being boarded in our emergency department waiting for an inpatient room.

To address this situation, CRMC has contingency plans that allow us to surge beyond our normal capacity. Those plans were put into effect late last week.

Another impact is that emergency department wait times for patients experiencing less acute conditions have increased.

We anticipate this situation will be short lived; however, we are cautiously planning for an extended period.

We are sharing this news so that our community understands why emergency wait times are increasing and why inpatient rooms are not readily available.

We also want our community to know that construction taking place at CRMC has not impacted the availability of inpatient rooms. Plans were made ahead of time to ensure those rooms were replaced before construction began. Our current limitations are largely staffing related.

Despite these tremendous challenges, our employees and providers are working 24/7 to ensure that everyone who comes to us receives an appropriate level of care. And we continue to emphasize that anyone experiencing signs or symptoms of a heart attack, stroke or any other medical emergency please call 911 right away; do not delay getting emergency help. Delaying care could result in a worsening condition that might require more intensive treatment or adverse outcomes.

We understand that this current situation is alarming. But we believe it’s important that we are transparent about what is happening and why. And please know that no matter the circumstances, we continue to be here for our community.

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On Thursday, Nov. 4, CRMC reported they were treating 41 patients with COVID-19, up from a recent low of 29 on Oct. 30.

CRMC's highest hospitalized population was 64 on Nov. 29 and Nov. 30, 2020.

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