Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are at their highest peak since last December, according to state data.
As of Wednesday, the state had nearly 1,254 hospitalizations, with 80% made up of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, according to the Colorado health department’s data dashboard. That state data indicates that 30% of state hospital facilities are anticipating ICU bed shortages in the next week. Colorado is also struggling with a staffing shortage for hospitals.
On top of dealing with the surge of coronavirus cases, hospitals are stretched thin as new admissions are filling beds for health concerns many patients put off during the span of the pandemic, such as overdoses, mental health/psych issues, suicide attempts, heart attacks and strokes.
Nationwide, 18% of hospital workers have quit their jobs since 2020, and another 12% have been laid off.
Before the pandemic, the industry was short 300,000 workers. Now, hospitals lack nearly 2 million.
The staffing shortage has it difficult to reactivate COVID overflow facilities just when flu season is approaching, Dr. Eric Hill, the EMS director at The Medical Center of Aurora, told The Denver Channel.
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Also on Wednesday, the Colorado Hospital Association moved into Tier 3, the highest tier available, to manage patient transfers as hospital capacity concerns grow due to COVID-19.
The CHA said the Combined Hospital Transfer Center was re-activated in August to Tier 1 when COVID-19 hospitalizations started to increase.
Democratic Gov. Jared Polis issued two executive orders on Sunday in response to the strain on the state’s hospital system. One order calls for additional National Guard resources and the other orders hospitals and emergency departments to transfer or stop admitting new patients due to the lack of hospital beds.
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From Oct. 26 to Nov. 2, one in every 281 people in Colorado was diagnosed with COVID-19, making it the ninth-highest rate among states of new cases per 100,000 residents, according to AP data.
The state’s seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen over the past two weeks from nearly 2,254 new cases per day in late October to 2,899 new cases per day as of Monday.
When Colorado hit its previous peak of COVID-19 hospitalizations last winter, the state reported on Nov. 13, 2020 that 85% of acute care beds were filled, leaving 1,372 remaining beds. But as of Tuesday, the state reported 90% of acute care beds filled with only 895 beds available.
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“The best solution for our capacity issues right now is to lower the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and we need help from all Coloradans to do that,” Darlene Tad-y, MD, CHA vice president of clinical affairs told FOX31 Denver.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.