By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) – While Colorado health officials are taking every step to avoid reaching the state’s hospital capacity, they are also planning for the chance that it might happen.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s not going to be the same when we built thousands of beds in their standalone facilities,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a meeting with his expert emergency epidemic response committee.

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Instead of seeing makeshift hospitals like we did when the pandemic began, long-term care facilities already in operation will be a focus for patients in need of recovery care.

“We have identified several facilities with open, or levels that are not be using,”

It’s help that is needed now, UCHealth in a statement says, “We have a large number of patients who are healthy enough to be discharged to a long-term care facility. It has been difficult to transfer some of those patients as some of the long-term care facilities and nursing homes may not be able to take additional patients.”

(credit: CBS)

Doug Farmer, President and CEO of the Colorado Health Care Association says their providers want to help but are facing the same challenges.

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“Staff, 100% we need staff,” said Farmer. “We simply don’t have the workforce we don’t have the personnel to provide care.”

Farmer says across the state they have 6,000 nursing home beds available. They are working with the state to determine who could be called on to staff those extra beds, and how to pay for that staff.

“Some of the things discussed are using traveling nurses from other states and potentially leaning on some of our federal government resources,” he said.

Under the governor’s direction, his team has roughly 30 to 45 days to figure it out, before the state reaches our predicted peak.

(credit: CBS)

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Farmer says patients ready for transfer would be those that are older and who make the most sense moving into long-term care.

Karen Morfitt