Data from Vital Statistics Services (VSS), which is part of the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH), showed a sharp increase in deaths in 2021 compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In Wyoming, there were 6,572 deaths in 2021, compared to 5,986 deaths in 2020, and 5,122 deaths in 2019, according to a press release by the Wyoming Department of Health.

Guy Beaudoin, the VSS deputy state registrar with WDH, said:

"Before the pandemic, our data has shown steady, small increases in deaths for several years largely due to our state’s aging population. That’s something we would have reasonably expected to continue," Beaudoin said. "However, the dramatically increased numbers of deaths over the last two years are unprecedented in Wyoming. It’s clear COVID-19 was a driving factor."

The top five causes of death in Wyoming for 2021 were cancers at 1,151, heart diseases at 1,113, COVID-19 at 1,025, compared to 230 deaths in 2020, various types of accidents and adverse effects at 379, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and related conditions at 355.

Throughout 2021, the number of cases and deaths fluctuated in similar trends to the U.S. as a whole, with lulls during the summer before picking up in August and September, with the most recorded cases in 2021 of 2,148 on Sept. 10 with the second most on Sept. 21 at 2,094.

Deaths in Wyoming followed a slightly different pattern, with the second most deaths recorded on Sept. 27 at 76, and the most in 2021 and since the pandemic began at 81 on Dec. 1.

Beaudoin said that the suicide rate in Wyoming, which in 2020 was the highest in the country at 30.5, continues to be an issue.

"Unfortunately, Wyoming continues to have a high suicide rate," Beaudoin said. "There were small increases in the number of suicide completions in each of the last two years, but there have been other times over the last decade with significantly larger year over year jumps as well as some years with reductions."

In 2021, there were 189 suicides among Wyoming residents, with 72% of those deaths due to firearms, compared to 182 suicides in 2020, 169 in 2019, 147 in 2018, 155 in 2017, and 172 in 2012.

When it comes to overdose deaths, in 2021, 95 people in Wyoming died due to overdoses compared to 90 in 2020, 81 in 2019, 65 in 2018, 60 in 2017, and 99 in 2012.

There were 6,232 births in Wyoming in 2021 compared with 6,132 in 2020, with a high over the past decade of 7,678 in 2015.

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