By GRACE WALHUS
Staff Reporter 

Flu and COVID season in Washakie County

 

November 2, 2023



As flu season approaches and flu shots are being administered, the COVID-19 virus still lingers, and Washakie County is receiving the latest boosters.

According to Washakie County Health Officer Dr. Stephen Asay, “Reporting and monitoring the number of active COVID cases has been difficult. The state health department is working on ways to streamline case reporting to compile that data, but there is no reliable estimate for the past few months.”

The Wyoming Department of Health website reported five lab confirmed cases in Washakie County during October. The surrounding counties of Big Horn and Hot Springs have respectively reported seven and 10 lab confirmed cases since late September. Hot Springs County reported one COVID-related death this fall as well.

As of Wednesday, Oct. 25, there are no reported active lab confirmed cases in Washakie County, according to the Wyoming Department of Health website. However, this may not accurately reflect all active cases, as the availability of at home testing and point of care testing at clinics/hospitals is part of what makes monitoring COVID-19 difficult, said Asay.

Although the administration of the newest COVID-19 booster has been, “a little slow,” according to Asay, 40 doses have been administered thus far. “There is currently a waitlist of about 200 to receive the booster when there are more doses available. For those interested in being added to the waiting list, they can call the public health office so they can be alerted when a dose is available for them. This is also helpful to gauge the demand so that the correct amount is ordered and available,” said Asay.

“The prevalent variants of COVID at this time tend to cause upper respiratory infection symptoms such as fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue. It’s not unusual to have nausea, vomiting or diarrhea as well,” said Asay, “These are essentially the same symptoms as influenza, making distinguishing the two just based on clinical symptoms virtually impossible.” Because of this, Asay said there are home tests available, and local clinics have testing available for patients as well.

As of last week, 400 flu shots have been administered in Washakie County through the public health office, according to Asay. For those who are interested in getting a flu shot, there is a walk-in clinic from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursdays. Asay said people can call the public health office to arrange another time outside of those hours if necessary.

“Primary care clinics, the hospital, and other healthcare facilities like nursing homes also offer flu shots for patients and employees […] Those interested in receiving them can also ask their primary care provider about getting the flu shot through their clinic,” he said.

 
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