“As of today, looking at the data that is reported by the hospitals, we are the lowest number of beds we’ve had available, and we do have less than 100 ICU beds open at this moment,” Scott Bookman of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said.
Various factors — among them delayed care and a rise in Covid hospitalizations — are contributing to the lack of ICU beds, Bookman said.
Officials said about 40% of hospitals have or are anticipating staff shortages in the next week.
“As of yesterday, we were at 1,267 people hospitalized in Colorado with Covid-19, still below that peak of 1,847. But our trajectory does continue to go up, and it is growing rapidly,” Bookman said. “Obviously these are incredibly concerning numbers and we’re working with our hospitals… to ensure that we are using every bed available.”
Unvaccinated people comprise 80% of those who are hospitalized, Bookman added.
Colorado health authorities are also concerned over the rise in cases in 10 of the past 14 days.
According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the average number of new cases in the state over the past 14 days are up 22% from the previous 14-day period.
Officials on Friday issued health advisories for the Denver metropolitan area and for the state.
“On November 4, Colorado’s daily case rate (49 per 100,000) was the 5th highest in the country and one of the fastest-growing,” the health department said.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday the state is prepared to request FEMA medical surge teams and ration care for Covid-19 patients “if hospital capacity is threatened.”
“It is in our region of the country experiencing peak right now that is very challenging for a hospital capacity,” Polis said.
In addition to requesting FEMA teams, the governor might consider ordering the temporary stop of cosmetic surgeries and other elective procedures, a new executive order on patient transfer, and scale distribution of monoclonal treatment.
Another measure might be to reactivate crisis standards of care, which the state says “are guidelines for how the medical community should allocate scarce resources such as ventilators and intensive care unit beds in the extreme case when patient needs exceed the resources available.”
Polis said he wanted Colorado residents to know what tools are available should the number of hospitalizations remain high.