Colorado health department issues public health advisory as COVID-19 worsens

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a statewide advisory Nov. 5, citing increasing COVID-19 cases and dwindling hospital bed capacity. 

"We are at the lowest number of beds we've had available, and we do have less than 100 ICU beds open at this moment," Scott Bookman, the state's COVID-19 incident commander, told CBS's KCNC-TV on Nov. 7.  

Colorado and the metro Denver area continue to see COVID-19 cases increase, according to the public health advisory notice. On Nov. 4, Colorado's daily case rate was 49 cases per 100,000 residents, the fifth highest rate in the U.S.  

On Oct. 30, 581 virus hospitalizations were recorded in the Denver area, with hospitals serving the metro area reporting less than 10 percent of staffed beds available for the first time in the entirety of the pandemic, according to the health department. As of Nov. 5, nearly 40 percent of hospitals reported current or anticipated staff shortages within the upcoming week.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Colorado hit their highest levels of 2021 in the beginning of November, baffling some experts as virus cases and hospitalizations decline nationally. The state's health department is urging residents to take COVID-19 precautions and safety measures to ease the strained hospital capacity. 

Gov. Jared Polis said if the surge continues, Colorado will need to request federal medical surge teams, halt elective surgeries and hospitals may need to resort to crisis standards of care. On Oct. 31, he signed an executive order authorizing the public health department to allow hospitals and freestanding emergency departments to transfer patients or halt admission of patients. 

Hospitals and health systems in Colorado are now coordinating patient transfers on a statewide level amid the high patient volumes, the Colorado Hospital Association said Nov. 3. 

Forecast models from Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic predict that Colorado COVID-19 hot spots will continue emerging over the next two weeks.   


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