Natrona County's top doctor took to social media on Friday with a grim announcement.

Casper's COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased sixfold.

"This is a very concerning time," Dowell said. "The Delta Variant is exploding in the state of Wyoming.

"We have 26 in the hospital at Wyoming Medical Center, which is six times what we had 10 days ago."

He added that positivity rates in Natrona County have exceeded 6%.

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Wyoming, Dowell said, is 49th in the US in vaccination rates.

Dowell advocated for requiring students and staff at local schools to wear masks. Governor Mark Gordon has said he will leave that up to local school boards.

'Where do we go from here?' 

More than 4 billion people have received the COVID-19 vaccination, but why is it so important, Dowell asked?

"This virus is looking for fresh meat to mutate in," Dowell said. And unvaccinated people — be it children or adults who have chosen not to get vaccinated — are prime candidates to help the virus vaccinate.

Not getting vaccinated, Dowell said, opens the door for the virus to mutate — potentially to a mutation that makes the vaccine ineffective.

"Not only is it setting up a problem with your neighbors who might end up hospitalized because they haven't been vaccinated, but you're playing a direct role in selecting out direct mutations for the fall," Dowell said. "We want to open the economy and get back to life, the vaccine is setting in front of you to get to do your part to do that.

"The longer we wait, the longer we don't do what we should do, the more likely it is that this is going to go on and on and on. Please consider this. I would give (the vaccine) to anybody I know. It's safe. I've had it — all my family, all my friends. Just do it for the good of all of us. Don't be scared of it. I'd put my reputation on the fact that it's safe."

Last Wyoming Fotomat Employees Still On The Job

Is he still waiting for someone to come pick up?