The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a statewide advisory on November 5, citing rising COVID-19 cases and shrinking hospital bed capacity .
“We are at the lowest bed count we have, and we have less than 100 intensive care beds open right now,” Scott Bookman, the state’s COVID-19 incident commander, told KCNC -TV from CBS Nov. 7. .
Colorado and the Denver metro area continue to see an increase in COVID-19 cases, according to the public health notice. Colorado’s daily case rate on November 4 was 49 cases per 100,000 population, the fifth highest rate in the United States.
As of Oct. 30, 581 hospitalizations for the virus were recorded in the Denver area, with hospitals serving the metro area reporting less than 10% of staffed beds available for the first time across the pandemic, according to the Department of health. As of November 5, nearly 40% of hospitals reported current or anticipated staff shortages in the coming week.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Colorado peaked in 2021 in early November, baffling some experts as virus cases and hospitalizations decline nationwide. The state health department is urging residents to take COVID-19 precautions and safety measures to alleviate strained hospital capacity.
Gov. Jared Polis said if the push continues, Colorado will have to call for federal medical teams, stop elective surgeries, and hospitals may need to resort to crisis care standards. On October 31, he signed an executive order authorizing the public health department to allow hospitals and autonomous emergency departments to transfer patients or suspend the admission of patients.
Colorado hospitals and health systems are now coordinating statewide patient transfers amid high patient volumes, the Colorado Hospital Association said on November 3.
Prediction models from the Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic predict that Colorado COVID-19 hotspots will continue to emerge over the next two weeks.