Wyoming News Briefs for January 10, 2019


Rare infection surfaces at Cheyenne hospital

CHEYENNE (WNE) — A Cheyenne Regional Medical Center patient is being treated for a rare, drug-resistant infection, the Wyoming Department of Health reported Wednesday. 

It's the first reported case in Wyoming and officials don't know where it originated. 

The patient's contagious infection included a new antibiotic-resistant gene known as MCR-1, first reported in the United States in May 2016. The gene has been found in both humans and animals in roughly a dozen states since.

Hospital officials believe the incident was isolated, but said they're taking precautionary measures to identify and screen high-risk individuals.

"We all want to be extremely cautious," said Alexia Harrist, state health officer, in a news release. "... We will review potential exposures to the organism and work to test anyone found to be at risk."

It does not appear the illness was acquired at the hospital, and the adult patient, a Cheyenne resident, is in good condition following alternative antibiotic treatment, according to CRMC staff. Doctors expect the patient will be discharged "shortly."

This is potentially serious, however, because even "last resort" antibiotics used to fight the infection may not kill the bacteria. 

Clay Van Houten, Department of Health infectious disease epidemiology unit manager, said there's no immediate risk to hospital patients or the public because the gene is only dangerous if it spreads to other bacteria, creating truly antibiotic-resistant infections.

Van Houten said generally staying healthy is the best way residents can protect themselves.  

"For healthy individuals, this finding isn't impactful for their health on a day-to-day basis," he said.

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WYDOT says more rocks could fall on road near Cody

POWELL (WNE) — After some large rocks fell onto U.S. Highway 14/16/20 west of Cody last month, Wyoming Department of Transportation geologists climbed up the cliffs on Monday to see if there was a potential of further danger. 

WYDOT says the workers found evidence that more rocks could fall on the eastern (Cody) side of the tunnels that lie near the Buffalo Bill Reservoir. 

“We have remaining rock above the roadway that is still unstable,” WYDOT Principal Geologist David Vanderveen of Cheyenne said in a Wednesday news release. 

The rock slide that triggered WYDOT’s Monday inspection occurred on Dec. 27 on the east (Cody) side of the tunnels near the Buffalo Bill Reservoir. The falling rock damaged guardrail and blocked one lane, disrupting traffic for part of the day. 

WYDOT has put up cautionary signs on each side of the area. 

The transportation department is bringing in contractors this week to assess the area and bid on the work of mitigating the risk of falling rocks.

 “When a contractor is chosen to mitigate the rockfall hazard, we will ask them to conduct several days of rock scaling to remove the loose rocks,” Vanderveen said. 

Traffic delays are expected. 

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Former WHP trooper sues over 2015 accident

POWELL (WNE)  — A former trooper with the Wyoming Highway Patrol is suing the owner of a food delivery truck that turned in front of his patrol car and caused a head-on crash in 2015. 

In a complaint filed in Wyoming’s federal court last week, former trooper Rodney Miears and his wife Marian, of Cody, seek compensation from Sysco Montana for the injuries the trooper sustained in the collision. 

“Defendant Sysco, via its driver, was in violation of safe driving practices,” says a portion of the suit, filed by Cody attorneys Laurence Stinson and Tom Keegan. 

The legal complaint alleges that Sysco negligently failed to “keep, maintain, enforce and follow safe driving practices and safe driving policies,” including in failing to properly supervise and train truck driver James Friede.

On June 15, 2015, Friede had been attempting to make a delivery to the Yellowstone Valley Inn on U.S. Highway 14/16/20, in the Wapiti area. According to law enforcement accounts of the crash, Friede never saw Miears coming; the westbound truck made a left-hand turn into the inn, pulling directly in front of Miears’ eastbound patrol car. 

In the ensuing collision, Miears was pinned into his vehicle and suffered injuries to his back and spine. The Wyoming Highway Patrol cited Friede for failing to yield to approaching traffic while making a left-hand turn and he paid $65 for the offense. He is not named as a defendant in the recently filed suit. 

According to last week’s lawsuit, Miears was deemed to be medically disabled and continues to suffer from debilitating pain.

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Flights to Chicago from Cody will resume in June

CODY (WNE) — Yellowstone Regional Airport will have jets Windy City bound for the first time in two years.

YRA board member Bucky Hall made the announcement Wednesday and said United Airlines will operate a once-weekly direct flight to and from Cody to Chicago starting the last week of June until September.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Hall said.

The flight service was offered at the airport 2014-2017 and was offered again in 2018, but the service was temporarily discontinued last summer when the airport opted to focus on its Denver flights.

This year United will return nonstop service to Chicago O’Hare International Airport in addition to regularly scheduled Denver flights.

To acquire the new flight, Hall said the Cody Yellowstone Air Improvement Resources group will use a “sizable portion” of $134,000 in eligible funding available through the state-run Air Service Enhancement Program to pay United a minimum revenue guarantee. He said CYAIR will also seek fundraising opportunities to pay the MRG.

In addition, United will also add an extra Denver International Airport flight this summer, making for four daily departures and arrivals each day through the carrier and 38 total flights coming and going from airport weekly.

Three of the four Denver arrivals will land in the evening hours during the summer which Hall said will help local lodging and tourism.