LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado’s ICU capacity is low compared to other states, but some hospital staff are still working overtime. According to the Colorado Hospital Association, some hospitals reported capacity and staffing concerns.
The CHA says health systems have reactivated Tier 1 of the Combined Hospital Transfer Center to help transfer patients as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Throughout the pandemic, Colorado hospitals have worked collaboratively to ensure that they had sufficient space, staff, and supplies to provide care for all Coloradans who needed it,” said Darlene Tad-y, MD, CHA vice president of clinical affairs. “The CHTC helps us efficiently use all the resources available in our hospitals throughout the state to provide lifesaving care for Coloradans who need it. At a time when we don’t know how large this surge may be or how long it may last, this type of resource will be crucial to our response.”
Colorado’s high vaccination rate has left the majority of hospitals with capacity, but the contagious delta variant can change that quickly. Two weeks ago, Denver Heath reports having seven COVID patients. The next week, they report having 19.
Dr. Kevin Unger, CEO of UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies & UCHealth Poudre Valley, says his hospital staff is exhausted.
“We have about 75 COVID positive patients, of which about 40 of those individuals are in our intensive care units. That’s actually our highest ICU number since the pandemic began,” said Unger. “All of our ICU capacity is completely at 100 plus percent at this point.”READ MORE: 'A Time For Concern': Northern Colorado Hospitals Near Capacity As Delta Variant Surges
Unger says they’re already looking for additional beds throughout the hospital where they can put patients that are ventilated or need to be intubated.
“We are seeing our providers just feeling frustrated because this is preventable,” said Unger.
Doctors say they best way Coloradans can support the state’s hospital staff is by getting vaccinated.
“Fortunately, there is more that we can do to change the course of this current surge. The rising hospitalizations are largely preventable, as vaccines have been proven to protect Coloradans from severe illness and hospitalization from COVID-19, including the Delta variant,” said Tad-y.
“We urge all Coloradans to get vaccinated and to follow guidance to continue to wear a mask and social distance. We are depending on you – please help us stop the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado.”