News from Jackson Hole Radio December 1, 2020

New Health Orders Coming on Increased COVID Cases

by Jackson Hole Radio News

Further restrictions and fines for non-compliance are on the table as healthcare leaders in Teton County face hospital crowding and staff shortages with an increase in community spread infections of COVID-19.

At a special town council meeting St John’s Health CEO Paul Beaupre, MD said that the hospital’s capacity has been impacted by an influx of patients from neighboring counties. He said that EIRMC in Idaho Falls and the University of Utah hospital are reaching capacity as well and many employees are quarantined or infected with coronavirus.

Beaupre said residents need to take more responsibility with distancing, masks, and gatherings.

Teton County Health official Travis Riddell, MD is seeking permission from the State Health Department to reduce gatherings to household members only and elected officials said they would enact changes if the state does not act quickly. Local rules could include selected business closures, strict limits to gatherings sizes, and the potential of fine against businesses who fail to enforce the health orders.

The town council has asked their staff to coordinate the effort including getting the message out that the community redouble its efforts to fight the increase in infections.