By Master Sgt. Jacqueline Marshall, State Public Affairs Office and Kim Deti, Wyoming Health Department of Health
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – In a time of crisis, the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory (WPHL), which is part of the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is collaborating with the Wyoming National Guard’s 84th Civil Support Team (CST) to deploy the CST’s mobile laboratory at the WPHL to support increased COVID-19 testing capacity.
The CST and WPHL have been partnering since early March when two CST laboratorians joined the WPHL surge team to perform COVID-19 testing.
The mobile laboratory is equipped with a rapid diagnostic testing platform that will allow for more testing to be performed at WPHL as well as a faster turnaround time for high-priority specimens. Capt. Sarah Brewer, Nuclear Medical Science Officer, and Capt. Kevin Messamer, Medical Operations Officer, run the mobile laboratory.
“They have been very flexible in applying their high-level skills to this particular problem and also done a lot of work in cultivating and developing the partnership with the state lab and the relationships that we have with the folks there,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jonathan Seelye, commander of the 84th CST. “I’m really proud of them for doing that.”
Cari Sloma, WPHL director with WDH, said she believed WPHL staff members had really stepped up to accommodate Wyoming’s COVID-19 testing needs. “Together with partners such as the CST, our entire team has worked hard to bring on testing, expand our capacity and find ways to support the sample collection needs of healthcare facilities across the state. Looking ahead, we’re really excited about the new testing capabilities the CST crew is helping us bring in.”
To date, Brewer and Messamer have helped WPHL test 788 samples. Last week, the CST team received rapid testing equipment that will increase their total capacity to 320 samples per week. Seelye explained that the equipment will allow them to provide the highest level of support they can by focusing on accelerating the results of certain high priority COVID tests.
“I think we are developing and growing an already fantastic relationship with WDH. I believe working with other state agencies in Wyoming has always been a pleasure,” said Seelye. “It’s the Wyoming way. We roll up our sleeves and we find a way to do what we need to do for the people of Wyoming. I’m proud that the CST can be a part of that and provide support to the state.
Seelye noted the pandemic can remind people of the importance of the state lab and the unique federal-state partnership with the Wyoming National Guard. “Working together greatly benefits Wyoming during this fight to control the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
For more information about COVID-19 from WDH, visit: