Colorado Hospitals, Overwhelmed With Coronavirus Cases, Can Turn Patients Away

Colorado is experiencing its worst coronavirus wave in a year and its overwhelmed hospitals are now allowed to turn away new patients.

An executive order, signed on Sunday by Gov. Jared Polis, allowed hospitals to redirect incoming patients. Many medical facilities have reported being over 90 percent capacity, with severe staffing shortages.

Covid hospitalizations in Colorado have increased 14 percent in the last two weeks. The state’s new daily cases have also increased 14 percent in two weeks, and recently reached their highest level since their peak in November 2020, according to a New York Times database.

Hospitals in Larimer County, where vaccine hesitancy is fueling a surge, are using 110 percent of their I.C.U. beds, according to the local health department. That has forced some patients to double up in rooms, and hospitals in the area are close to turning patients away to prioritize emergencies, Tom Gonzales, public health director for Larimer, told CBS Denver.

At least 62 percent of the state is fully vaccinated, above the national average of 58 percent. Most hospitalized Covid patients are unvaccinated.

At UCHealth, one of the state’s biggest health systems, 76 percent of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 are unvaccinated, and over 86 percent of Covid-19 patients who are in need of a ventilator and are in intensive care are unvaccinated.Masks in the state are optional and restaurants are mostly running at full capacity; Mr. Polis, the governor, is reluctant to revive statewide restrictions.

The governor’s executive order coincided with a state mandate that required health care workers to be fully vaccinated against Covid by Oct. 31. More than 90 percent of Colorado’s hospital workers have now been fully vaccinated, according to the state’s health department.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged residents of high-transmission areas to wear masks in public indoor spaces, regardless of their vaccination status, citing evidence that vaccinated Americans with breakthrough infections can carry as much coronavirus as unvaccinated people do.

Other nearby states, like Arizona, are also enduring surges. New daily cases are rising faster in Arizona than any other state, up 50 percent over two weeks.

The Tycoon Herald