Roughly 30% of the patients at Wyoming Medical Center in Casper are hospitalized with COVID-19, by far the most of any particular illness at the hospital.

And the situation is only getting worse.

That's according to Wyoming Medical Center Interim CEO Dr. JJ Bleicher, who spoke during a virtual press briefing on Thursday.

"We're doing everything we can to handle this extra load of patients," Bleicher said. "We've had to switch private rooms to semi-private rooms. We've had to get dozens of emergency nurses from outside this area to help us care for that. We've had physicians switching, changing their roles.

"Luckily at this point, we have enough of the personal protective equipment,"

But staff at WMC are getting sick and, as the hospital is getting extra staff, they're having to replace the existing staff. The hospital is also having to decline calls from hospitals in surrounding states.

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"We don't have room to take care of those patients," Bleicher said, adding that the hospital is having to take a look at whether to accept patients from within Wyoming.

Bleicher said there's no telling when the COVID-19 surge will end. If it continues, doctors will struggle to take care of patients from Natrona County.

"This is getting to be extremely dire. We're stretching and stretching but we're getting to a point where we're going to break and not be able to do more," Bleicher said. "We're imploring you to change what you're doing out in the community.

"Things are growing and growing, and we're not going to have room."

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