More information released on first COVID-19 death in Sweetwater County


SWEETWATER COUNTY, WYOMING (July 14, 2020) – One of three patients hospitalized at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County (MHSC) has become the county’s first COVID-related death, according to the Sweetwater County District Board of Health.

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The patient, a 77-year-old Rock Springs man who was recently identified as a laboratory-confirmed positive case of COVID-19, was hospitalized after testing positive on July 10, and died July 13. The man reported first experiencing symptoms on July 7.

“On behalf of the entire MHSC family, we express our deepest sympathy for the family and loved ones of our first COVID-related death in Sweetwater County,” said Irene Richardson, CEO of MHSC.

“Our thoughts are also with the families of others who have been affected by this disease. The health and safety of our patients, staff and community continues to be our top priority.”

Sweetwater Memorial’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Melinda Poyer, said, “The MHSC family is saddened by our first COVID-related death. Our thoughts are with the family and our community during this difficult time.”

According to hospital staff, the remaining two hospitalized patients are currently in stable condition and not on ventilators.

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Local public health officials report that the older man suffered pre-existing health conditions known to put patients at higher risk of medical complications and serious illness related to the COVID-19 virus. In an ongoing analysis of available data by the CDC, underlying medical conditions that put individuals at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 most often include chronic heart or lung conditions, uncontrolled diabetes, and immunodeficiencies.

Wyoming resident deaths are added to the state’s coronavirus-related death total based on official death certification information, according to state health officials. Death certificates reflect whether COVID-19 caused or contributed to the person’s death according to medical opinion. If the disease neither caused nor contributed to the person’s death, then that person’s death is not reflected in Wyoming’s count of COVID-related deaths, even if the person is known to be positive for the virus.

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