Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness Information

Our hospital is committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, employees, providers, volunteers and visitors. We are continuing to monitor the evolving situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are taking the necessary steps to ensure we are fully prepared to care for patients, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in partnership with our local and state health departments.

Below are a number of resources to help educate you and your family on COVID-19. Wyoming residents with questions about COVID-19 may send an email to wdh.covid19@wyo.gov.

COVID-19 Online Risk Assessment

To help support the health of our community, we are providing access to an online COVID-19 risk assessment developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This tool does NOT provide a diagnosis, and it should NOT be used as a substitute for an assessment made by a healthcare provider.

Quick Links:

SageWest Health Care is committed to protecting the health and safety of everyone who walks through our doors. We are continuing to work closely with the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure the safety of our patients, the clinical team that cared for this individual and all those within our facility.

It probably feels as if coronavirus – or as it is officially known, COVID-19 – is all anyone is talking about these days. As COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses spread across the U.S., you also may feel a certain level of concern over how this disease could affect you or your loved ones, or if your local healthcare provider is prepared to respond to local cases that may arise. We want to provide you with essential information outlining what we are doing to stay prepared and offer you guidance on what you can do to help protect yourself, your family and our community.

What we are doing

SageWest Health Care is committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, employees, providers and visitors at all times. While COVID-19 is fairly new, effectively responding to other infectious diseases is not. We have tested processes to respond to situations involving infectious disease year-round. Here is what we are doing to stay ready and respond to COVID-19:

  • We have a robust emergency operations plan in place and are reviewing and proactively completing a number of preparation checklists out of an abundance of caution.

  • We have hand hygiene products easily accessible throughout our facility.

  • We are screening patients in our emergency department, inpatient units and outpatient clinics based on CDC guidance.

  • Staff treating a potential COVID-19 case are provided with all appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to help prevent exposure.

  • All patients, providers, staff and vendors are screened and asked to wear a mask while in the facility.

What you can do

It’s easy to feel helpless when faced with a barrage of news reports and social media updates regarding COVID-19. The good news is that there are some key steps you can take to help protect you and your loved ones and help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Staying home when you are sick.

  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.

  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, including your phone, computer, remote controls and doorknobs.

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

  • Using an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available (always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty).

  • Practicing social distancing behaviors, including working from home, avoiding public gatherings and unnecessary travel, and maintaining a distance of approximately six feet from others when possible.

What to do if you are experiencing symptoms

First and foremost - if you are having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or go directly to the Emergency Room. If possible, notify the dispatch agent that your emergency involves symptoms possibly related to COVID-19. 

For non-emergency needs, if you need medical attention due to respiratory illness symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) contact your primary care provider and let them know that you are experiencing symptoms that may possibly be related to COVID-19. This will allow your provider to properly guide you and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.

We want to reassure our communities that it is safe to come to the hospital should you or your family need care. Our number one priority is the health and well-being of our community – and that includes you. In collaboration with our local and state health partners we are prepared to manage an outbreak of respiratory illness, and we encourage you to follow the guidance above and stay tuned to updates from the WDH and CDC to help protect you and your loved ones. Keeping our community healthy is a community effort, and we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our community healthy. For more information and to stay abreast of the latest updates on COVID-19, you can visit SageWest Health Care SageWestHealthCare.com COVID-19 webpage and www.cdc.gov.

Wyoming 2-1-1 and the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) are partnering to provide a public telephone helpline for COVID-19 questions and information. 2-1-1 links COVID-19 information as well as local resources and is available Monday through Friday, 8am to 6pm.

COVID-19 Vaccine

SageWest Health Care has received a number of questions from our patients about when the COVID-19 vaccine may be available to them. While we are thrilled with the outpouring of interest from our community members in getting vaccinated.

We have created a list of common questions about the COVID-19 vaccines based on current knowledge and understanding. These questions will continue to evolve with time, so we encourage you to check back frequently for the most up-to-date information.

Common Questions about COVID-19 Vaccines:

  1. Who is currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine? When will it be available to the general public?

We are in the process of distributing the vaccine in accordance with prioritization guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the federal government and our state health departments. We strongly encourage our community to get vaccinated once the vaccine is more widely available to our community members, hopefully in the coming months. #VaccineHero

  1. The vaccine was produced very quickly. How do I know it is safe?

The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is the top priority while federal partners work to make the COVID-19 vaccines. Despite what the name may suggest, “Operation Warp Speed” does not mean that manufacturers were able to skip steps or cut corners in the vaccine development process. Instead, after development of the vaccine, manufacturers took a secured risk and overlapped the study, manufacturing and distribution phases. The FDA committed to giving these vaccinations priority (not rushed) review at all phases of the studies, which helped speed up the overall process. Ongoing monitoring of vaccine effectiveness and side effect reports will continue to be evaluated by the FDA and the manufacturers.

  1. If I get the COVID-19 vaccine, should I still wear a mask?

Yes. For several reasons, a mask and other proven methods of preventing COVID-19 (hand hygiene and social distancing) are still important even after receiving the vaccine. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

  1. If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, should I still get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available?

Yes, at this time the vaccine is recommended even if you previously tested positive for COVID-19. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, individuals who have previously been infected with COVID-19 should proceed with getting the vaccine. However, due to limited vaccine supply at this time, you may be asked to wait to get the vaccine if you had COVID-19 within the previous 90 days, as the likelihood of reinfection during this time period is likely low.

  1. Can you contract COVID-19 by getting the vaccine?

No. The vaccine is NOT a live vaccine, and it is NOT possible to contract COVID-19 from receiving the vaccine. Some people experience side effects from the vaccine, such as headache, muscle pain, or fever – but that does not mean you have COVID-19.  It means your body is working to build the necessary immunity against the virus, which is a good thing. 

  1. What are the possible side effects/adverse events from the COVID-19 vaccine? 

The most common adverse reactions reported have been fatigue, headache, fever/chills and joint pain. This means your body is working to build the necessary immunity against the virus.

You can read more in Pfizer’s FDA Briefing Document and Moderna’s FDA Briefing Document about the side effects reported among the vaccine study participants.

  1. Can the COVID-19 vaccine be administered to children?

The COVID-19 vaccine is not indicated for children younger than 12 years old at this time.

  1. Can the COVID-19 vaccine be administered to pregnant women?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals. It is important to note that the COVID-19 vaccines currently available have not been tested in pregnant women, so there is no safety data specific to use in pregnancy. Pregnant women should make an informed decision after discussing with their healthcare provider.

  1. How many doses are required? If multiple, when do I get another dose?

For both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, two doses are required. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine should be administered 21 days after the first dose. The second dose of the Moderna vaccine should be administered 28 days after the first dose. It is very important to note that the second dose must be from the same manufacturer as the first dose. 

  1. What should I do if I am unable to get the second dose exactly 21 days (Pfizer) or 28 days (Moderna) after the first dose?

While it is recommended that you receive the second dose as soon as feasible after day 21 or day 28, we understand that it might not be possible to receive it on the desired date. This could be due to multiple reasons. Please keep the following in mind if you cannot receive the second vaccine dose on the desired date:

  1. You must receive the second dose from the same manufacturer as the first dose.

  2. Get the second dose as soon as possible after the desired date has passed, as it is better to get the second dose late than not at all. You will still experience the same efficacy in the long run, although you may not see the full effect of the immunity until a few weeks after the second dose.  

  1. How long after receiving both doses of the vaccine until it is considered effective?

Similar to the flu vaccine, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection. As a general rule, the vaccine is considered effective about two weeks after the second dose, according to the manufacturers. There is evidence that the first dose will begin providing some immunity, but it is still very important to receive the second dose for optimal results.

12. Can I choose which vaccine I get (Pfizer or Moderna)?
We do not recommend waiting for a specific manufacturer. Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have similar efficacy and potential side effects, and have shown decreased disease severity in the small numbers of study participants who contracted COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine. Both manufacturers require two doses. It is important to remember that the second dose you receive must be from the same manufacturer. Early defense is better than no defense against COVID-19.

13. NEW: Should those who experience significant side effects from their first COVID-19 vaccine dose expect significant or worse side effects with the second dose? What about those who were previously COVID-19-positive?

Based on data from each vaccine, there appears to be an increased incidence of experiencing certain side effects from the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine compared to the first dose (e.g., fever, fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain, and joint pain). This does not mean that all vaccine recipients will experience these side effects with the first or second dose. A full list of the reported side effects comparing Dose 1 and Dose 2 may be found within the Pfizer BioNTech EUA Fact Sheet and the Moderna EUA Fact Sheet.

At this time, we do not have definitive data to state whether vaccine side effects are worse in patients who were previously positive for COVID-19.

14. NEW: How long will I need to be observed after I get the vaccine?

In general, a 30-minute observation period is recommended for anyone with a history of severe allergic reactions (due to any cause), and a 15-minute observation period is recommended for all other individuals.

15. NEW: Will the COVID-19 vaccine result in a false positive COVID-19 test?

No, COVID-19 vaccination will not cause a false positive COVID-19 viral test. Per CDC guidance, the immunity response from a COVID-19 vaccine could possibly result in a positive antibody test, which indicates previous infection and potential protection against the virus.

16. NEW: If I become COVID-19-positive following my first dose of the vaccine, should I take the second dose?

Per CDC guidance, you may receive the vaccine (either dose) following resolution of symptoms, if any, and completion of the quarantine period.

17. NEW: What ingredients are included in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine?

Ingredients for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can be found via this CDC link. Individuals with allergies to any of the vaccine components should discuss concerns with their healthcare provider before receiving the vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ – 3rd Dose for Immunocompromised Individuals

  1. Why is a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine necessary? Is it not as effective as we thought?

COVID-19 vaccines have been proven safe and highly effective, even against the Delta variant. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) now recommends an additional dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) specifically for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. A third dose will help this vulnerable population enhance their immune response and further protect them from serious – and potentially prolonged – illness.

  1. Why is a third dose only recommended for immunocompromised individuals at this time?

Studies have shown that immunocompromised individuals typically have less of an immune response after initially completing a 2-dose COVID-19 vaccine series than those who are non-immunocompromised. The third dose is intended to help enhance their immune response by increasing antibody levels for greater protection against the virus.

  1. What are the criteria for receiving a third dose?

Individuals may qualify for a third dose if they are moderately or severely immunocompromised due to a medical condition or receipt of immunosuppressive medications or treatments. This includes people who have: 

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood 
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system 
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system 
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome) 
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection 
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response 

  1. Is a doctor’s permission or a prescription required?

No. The CDC has indicated that immunocompromised people will not need a doctor’s permission or a prescription to get a third shot. They will only need to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements for an additional dose. Individuals who are unsure whether they meet the criteria above should consult their provider. 

  1. Can immunocompromised individuals who initially received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine now receive a dose of the mRNA vaccine?

Currently, there are insufficient data to support the use of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose after a single-dose J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccination series in immunocompromised people. The FDA and CDC are actively working to provide guidance to immunocompromised individuals who previously received the single-dose J&J/Janssen vaccine.

  1. What if someone has a chronic medical condition like diabetes or asthma? Can they get the third dose now?

These individuals should not receive a third dose at this time. However, it is expected that the general public will be able to get a booster shot sometime this fall. We anticipate that the booster dose will first be available to healthcare workers, first responders and nursing home residents.

  1. What is the difference between a third dose and a “booster” shot? Are they the same thing?

The vaccine dose is the same, but the intended purpose is different. The third dose is intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to the initial vaccine series. A booster dose is given to people when the immune response to a primary vaccine series is likely to have waned over time.

  1. How long after completing the 2-dose series should an immunocompromised individual receive a third dose?

The CDC recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

  1. Where can someone get a third dose?

Check www.vaccines.gov to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is it safe to come to the hospital?

It is safe to come to the hospital should you or your family need care, but please be mindful of our limited visitor restrictions. For the latest SageWest Health Care updates, please visit our hospital website at SageWestHealthCare.com.

Is the hospital currently limiting visitors, restricting access or on lockdown?
SageWest has relaxed visitor restrictions. For the latest SageWest Health Care updates, please visit our hospital website at SageWestHealthCare.com.

Should I reschedule or cancel my office visit, procedure and/or surgery?  
Please consult with your doctor before cancelling or rescheduling regularly scheduled appointments and procedures.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

  • The most common symptoms are cough, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell, nasal congestion or running nose, GI symptoms, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and headaches.
  • If you are experiencing severe warning signs including difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; persistent pain or pressure in the chest; new confusion or inability to arouse; and/or bluish lips or face, call 9-1-1 immediately.

I think I’ve been exposed. What should I do if I’m experiencing symptoms?

If you develop a cough, fever or other symptoms consistent with a respiratory illness, call your doctor or our Fremont County Public Health at 332-1073 or 856-6979. If you are experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, call 9-1-1.

What happens if I’m experiencing symptoms and come to the hospital?

  • First - if you can - please call ahead to your provider or the local health department. Wyoming Department of Health has a statewide helpline that provides free, confidential information and referrals to health and human services. By dialing 2-1-1, people are linked to information about COVID-19 as well as local resources, from both government and nonprofit agencies. 2-1-1 is available Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6pm. Questions can also be emailed to wdh-covid19@wyo.gov
  • All patients arriving at the hospital are asked to wear a mask.
  • You will be screened – and if considered high-risk based on your symptoms and/or recent travel history and potential exposure– you may be evaluated and tested in accordance with guidance from Fremont County Public Health and Wyoming Department of Health and the CDC.

What are reliable sources for information related to COVID-19?
Visit our website SageWestHealthCare.com for information on how the SageWest Health Care is preparing and for additional resources and links to reputable sources including:

  • Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – CDC.gov

  • Fremont County Public Health– 332-1073 or 856-6979

  • Wyoming Department of Health – 2-1-1

How can I prevent being exposed to and/or spreading COVID-19?

Visit the CDC’s website at cdc.gov or consult Fremont County Public Health and Wyoming Department of Health to learn more. SageWest Health Care also provides links to these pages on our hospital website SageWestHealthCare.com.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to Environmental Services


Is the hospital clean and safe?

Our hospital is clean and safe – just like it always has been! One of the core elements of properly managing infectious diseases is the cleanliness of our physical facility. We follow the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding cleaning and disinfecting protocols to ensure the health and safety of everyone who enters the facility.

What specific steps are you taking to maintain a clean and safe environment?

  1. We comply with best practices for infection prevention of infectious diseases like COVID-19, which include:

    • following hand hygiene protocol and utilizing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times

    • ensuring availability and access to hand sanitizer and soap throughout the facility

    • using proper disinfectants, cleaning agents and supplies that meet state and federal infection control standards

  2. Our teams conduct terminal cleaning and disinfection of all sterile areas, including operating and procedural rooms, in accordance with industry standards and best practices.

  3. We have enhanced cleaning and disinfection of high-touch items and surfaces in high-traffic areas of our facility, including our emergency room, lobbies, waiting areas, hallways, restrooms, elevators.

  4. Inspections and rounding have been increased to monitor compliance of our multi-step cleaning and disinfection process.

In addition to reinforcing our routine cleaning techniques, we are also educating and training our teams on the latest guidance and recommendations for infection prevention related to COVID-19.
 

COVID-19 Testing Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get tested for COVID-19?

At this time, tests for COVID-19 require a provider order. Visiting a provider does not necessarily mean you need testing or that you will receive testing. Your provider will work with Fremont County Public Health to follow all appropriate guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Wyoming Department of Health to determine if testing is recommended based on your symptoms, exposure and recent travel history.

What are the qualifications for being tested for COVID-19?

Someone may be a candidate for testing if he or she has:

  1. A fever and cough or shortness of breath AND has been in close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case; or
  2. A fever and cough or shortness of breath and a history of travel from affected geographic areas; or
  3. A fever and cough or shortness of breath requiring hospitalization with no other source of infection.

Can I pick up or buy a test kit for COVID-19?

No. At this time, tests for COVID-19 require a provider order and are not commercially available to the public.

What do I do if I’ve been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19? I want to be tested.

If you have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should self-monitor for fever or symptoms of respiratory illness for 14 days. If you begin to experience fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, and they are mild enough that you can manage them at home, you should remain at home in isolation. Fremont County Public Health has requested if you are in self-isolation please call 857-3677 or 856-6979 to talk to a public health nurse. For details about how to correctly perform home isolation, tips for managing your illness at home with family members, and guidance on when you can discontinue home isolation, please visit the CDC’s website (link to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html)

If you are not experiencing symptoms, or you are experiencing mild symptoms you can manage at home in isolation, you do not need to seek medical care or testing.

I believe I have symptoms of COVID-19. What do I do next?

I’m experiencing mild symptoms right now, but I’m worried.

If you are experiencing fever and/or mild symptoms of respiratory illness, you can and should isolate at home during illness. For details about how to correctly perform home isolation, tips for managing your illness at home with family members, and guidance on when you can discontinue home isolation, please visit the CDC’s website (link to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html)

Should I get tested? Isolating yourself at home and self-monitoring mild symptoms is the best course of action unless you feel you need medical care.

Worsening symptoms – I need to see my provider.

Be alert to any changing symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if your symptoms are getting worse. If you feel you need to visit your healthcare provider, call ahead before you arrive to tell them you’re experiencing symptoms that may be related to COVID-19. This will allow your provider’s office staff to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.

Will I be tested? Your provider will make this determination based on your symptoms, and recent travel history. You may or may not be tested, but your provider will follow all appropriate CDC and Wyoming Department of Health guidelines.

Emergent symptoms – I am having difficulty breathing.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 and notify the dispatch agent that your emergency is related to possible COVID-19 symptoms.

Will I be tested? Your emergency medicine provider will make this determination based on your symptoms and recent travel history. You may or may not be tested, but your provider will follow all appropriate CDC and Wyoming Department of Health guidelines.