By Shawn Chitnis

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Public health officials and hospital leaders said Wednesday the surge of COVID-19 patients from the delta variant is threatening the health care system in northern Colorado.

(credit: CBS)

They want more people to get vaccinated in time to avoid another major surge in the fall.

UCHealth reported on Wednesday morning that 94 patients have COVID-19 or could be possibly infected in northern Colorado, including 36 patients who require intensive care.

Poudre Valley Hospital has already started doubling up patients in ICU rooms, doctors sharing that some of those hospitalized are as young as their 20s.

“Seeing people with COVID-19, young people, old people, struggling to breathe on ventilators is sobering to say the least,” said Tom Gonzales, the public health director for Larimer County. “Those that don’t think this is real, you’re very, very wrong.”

Gonzales toured the ICU and other parts of the hospital on Wednesday before sharing his concerns publicly about what he saw inside and the need to get more people in the county vaccinated.

While he was pleased to see the vaccine rate going up, he said to combat the delta variant, 90% of those eligible must be fully vaccinated.

He hopes they can reach that before Halloween not only to control this surge but avoid another, like one of the worst they saw last year around the same time.

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Shawn Chitnis