Governor Prepares For Stages Of COVID Crisis To Preserve Capacity In Colorado Hospital Beds – By Jan Wondra

In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Colorado Governor Jared Polis outlined the realities of the state’s current hospital capacity, covering steps the state may need to take to ensure its ability to manage what now appears to be a state COVID-19 outbreak.

“Our region is at the peak. it’s a challenge for the capacity of the hospital – it means we have been reviewing our tools for the coming weeks to be ready, ”said Polis.

As of Thursday, October 28, one in 56 people in the state is currently contagious. This latest wave is due to unvaccinated and declining immunity for older populations who were vaccinated earlier than the rest of the population.

While COVID-19 cases are on the decline in most states that experienced outbreaks in late summer, Colorado is now among the top ten states for increasing COVID cases.

The problem is numerical: the state has 1,600 hospital beds. As of Thursday afternoon, 1,167 of them were filled with COVID patients.

At current infection rates, and with a majority of sick people unvaccinated, the state expects the outbreak to peak around December 5. Currently, only 119 intensive care unit (ICU) beds are available (from that 1,600 bed base) statewide. “If we do better [at controlling the spread] the increase will be around Nov. 10 and only 1,279 beds will be needed, ”said Andrea Carlstrom, Chaffee County Director of Public Health. “But if we do any worse, by December 10 we will need 2,269 beds. This exceeds our total hospital bed capacity.

The counties’ vaccination rates are going to matter when it comes to gaining support outside of their physical limits. Broomfield cannot get health care in neighboring counties because their vaccination rates are so low. Since this week, Chaffee’s vaccination rates have increased.

Vaccines against covid19. Photo by Daniel Schludi for unsplash

According to the governor, the state has a five-step action plan, parts of which could be activated within the next 72 hours. The plan includes:

  1. Request a FEMA emergency medical team
  2. Temporary cessation of cosmetic surgeries and elective procedures
  3. Reactivate standards of care in the event of a crisis
  4. New decrees on patient transfers
  5. Intensify the distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments

The governor was frank: “Unless the cases improve, you’ll see two or three go into effect if hospital capacity is threatened. As a state, we have yet to ban elective surgery…. Again. But if we need it, we will not hesitate to take this step to delay elective surgeries to ensure space for the beds.

He ended on a positive note, focusing on new approvals for Pfizer vaccines for children aged 5 to 11. December 31, 2022. “Colorado has half a million children in this age group and we have 171,000 doses in our first shipment,” Polis said. “It’s enough for about 30% of our kids in this age group. “

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