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CEO COVID-19 Update November 13, 2020

CEO COVID-19 Update November 13, 2020

I believe everyone is aware that the pandemic has accelerated in our community and across most of the country. Although we have been through previous COVID spikes in Teton County, this period is an especially difficult one because we are all weary from this crisis and just want it to be over. On the positive side, we know what it takes to work together to bring our numbers down, because we have done so successfully before. We can do this again, and we must. Secondly, we need to acknowledge and validate the toll this pandemic takes on our emotional state. It is affecting everyone to varying degrees. For some, it has represented serious personal or family illness. For others, it has raised concerns about effects of closures on the education of our children and their social-emotional development. And for others, this pandemic has created anxiety about family income and the sustainability of our businesses. I encourage us all to soften a bit to the idea that everyone we know is experiencing complicated emotions. Coming from a place of mutual care and concern will help us move through these challenges with greater success and sense of wellbeing.

Good News: The news earlier this week about the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness in large, late-stage trials was extraordinary! At St. John’s, we have already acquired the specialized freezers necessary to store the Pfizer vaccine. I hope this promising news gives each of us a boost in motivation and perseverance to tamp down the virus today and reduce the number of additional people that could become sick or die.

Numbers update: For the past few days, we have been averaging 4-6 patients in the hospital. Currently 25 staff members are out because they were either positive for Covid or quarantined after a community exposure. We are also reaching high numbers on our hotline and number of tests we are doing.

Testing update: We are working with local health officials and will soon be able to expand capacity for surveillance and contact tracing tests. In addition, I highly encourage you to go to to acquire test kits for your family. You can have these on hand if someone in your family begins to have worrisome symptoms. Thanks to the State of Wyoming, these tests are provided at no cost for Wyoming residents. As we continue to do more and more testing, we are doing this as safely and efficiently as possible by consolidating our testing operations. Contact the hotline at 307.739.4898 for an evaluation or go to our FAQ for information about testing and other Covid questions.

You are all heroes: With everyone’s support, this is a battle that can be won on the basis of individual, voluntary actions. Because leadership is important to help people understand the situation and how we can do better, I support the idea that our state and local public health officials may have to put in place more restrictive orders for a period of time. Our local public health team is really excellent, and I trust that they are aware of the full impact of their recommendations and orders on our community’s health and overall wellbeing. I advise you all to listen carefully to the counsel of Dr. Travis Riddell, Jodie Pond, and members of the public health team. Like me, they are focused on the science of this disease and how we can overcome this pandemic.

Keeping Spirits Up: I know it’s difficult to stay positive sometimes when the news we are hearing is negative. I encourage you all to look at the upcoming holidays with a renewed sense of what gratitude and Thanksgiving means. We can all think of something every day for which to be grateful. I promise you that if you take the time to do this, you will feel your spirits and sense of resolve lifted. We can make a commitment to do a little better tomorrow than today with adhering to COVID safety precautions. I know that we'll make a difference.

As I write this, I am watching the snow fall and noticing that it is magnificent. I’m grateful to live in this wonderland we call home, and I’m grateful for your continued attention to the health of our community during today’s challenges.

I hope you are able to establish some new traditions this Thanksgiving season.


Paul Beaupré, MD, CEO

St. John’s Health