Colorado is expected to hit a record for COVID-19 hospital admissions within the next 2-3 days, state health officials said Wednesday, warning that “a pandemic is breaking out across Colorado.”
“We are seeing a sharp increase in hospital admissions and pressure on the hospital system,” said Rachel Herlihy, an epidemiologist with the state health ministry, in a virtual press conference.
As of Tuesday, 82% of ICU beds and 80% of acute care beds in the state have been used, according to state data. Nearly 40% of critical care ventilators for adults are in use.
The predicted tension in hospital capacity arises after a week of frequent cases of up to 2,000 per day and when the proportion of people tested with the virus reaches 9% ̵1; almost double the limit recommended by the World Health Organization to reopen the community. .
That rate has more than doubled over the past week, Herlihy said, and continues to increase daily.
According to Jon Samet, principal of the Colorado School of Public Health, the average person infected with the sometimes fatal virus has now spread it to 1.66 others.
Transmission control is declining in all age groups, he said, adding that the increase in hospital admissions is happening faster than the state forecast.
“We are rapidly going beyond these trajectories as the epidemic spreads,” he said. “The curve is going uphill, perhaps even steeper than we estimated earlier this week.”
If the conditions stay the same, the state could see an ICU bed capacity exceeded by the end of December, he said, adding that this milestone could be reached as early as mid-December if transmission increased due to the episode. focus on vacation.
The tough part of controlling the spread of the virus is that people are most infectious before they have symptoms, says Eric France, medical director for the state health department.
“You might feel fine today, but tomorrow you’ll feel sick,” he said. “Today you are going around spreading viruses.
“Here’s our challenge: How do we not spread the virus?”
That is why minimizing social exposure and maximizing social distancing is so important, regardless of the risk or symptoms – it is not possible to know, without testing, who is contagious. on foot, France said.
“We need each Coloradan to do their part on their own by being wary as if it was April,” he added.
At least 18 counties are now eligible for home stay orders based on incidence, France adds that those counties will work with the state in the coming days to reinforce plans to curb the incidence. spread of the disease.
As of Tuesday, both El Paso County, with 388 viral infections per 100,000 residents over a two-week period, and Denver County, with 585 cases per 100,000 residents in the same time period, exceeded the threshold 350 is regulated by the state. .
El Paso County is currently in the middle of the state dial framework, Safer at House Level 2, or yellow, while Denver is located Safer at House Level 3, or in orange – last stop first when ordering at home.
The state health department announced Wednesday that Boulder County will join Denver in the orange region due to the rapidly growing virus in the county. The incidence rate per 100,000 residents in the past two weeks was 312, according to a press release sent Wednesday by Boulder County Public Health.
France said he hopes local leaders in counties most affected by the virus will begin to consider a curfew, as the city of Pueblo did last week and other measures could stop it. closed status.
Officials say virus control will be an uphill battle as COVID fatigue subsides even further, the holiday is coming and, potentially, with colder weather ahead, there may be a part of the seasonal calculation for COVID-19 as it is for the flu. and the common cold.
“Maybe the virus likes cold weather,” Samet said. “That’s something we don’t understand, but some (viruses) do.”