A family struggles to adjust to life after nearly losing their father to COVID-19.
Fort Collins Coloradoan
Fort Collins and Loveland’s intensive care units are filling up as a growing number of COVID-19 cases have placed Larimer County on the high-risk list.
On Friday, Larimer County reported 81 new cases of coronavirus infection, the second highest number in a day since the pandemic began.
The intensive care units at Banner and UCHealth hospitals in Loveland and Fort Collins are already at 91% capacity, according to the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment. Not everyone in ICU beds are COVID-19 patients.
The county control panel reported 29 COVID-19 patients at hospitals in the county as of Friday.
ICU capacity increases ebbs and daily flow as hospitalized patients move between units and are admitted and discharged, but the state is warning that given the current rate of infection, the number of hospitalizations will exceed April peak on November 10.
And if infection rates do not tend to decrease, intensive care units may exceed capacity in January, or earlier, if the number of exposures increases during the upcoming holidays.
COVID-19 Tracker: Larimer and case state, mortality and hospital data for October
“There’s a small opportunity to improve transmission control over the next few weeks,” said Dr. Jonathan Samet, principal of the Colorado School of Public Health. “In order to limit the increase in infection and avoid the peaks that could strain health care capacity over the next three months, there is a need to significantly increase transmission control.”
Sara Quale, a spokeswoman for Banner North Colorado, said it is not uncommon for hospital admissions to reach a high during winter flu season, but that usually doesn’t happen until January and February.
Based on the patterns created during the spring rally, Banner expects volume to continue to rise in November and maintain at a December high.
The number of current UCHealth system-wide COVID-19 patients is just over half of the peak period in April.
UCHealth Northern Colorado spokesman Kelly Tracer has treated more than 30 COVID-19 patients at Weld and Larimer hospitals.
“We encourage everyone to take this COVID-19 rise seriously,” Tracer said. “Follow all directions from the health department and wash your hands, wear a mask and observe your distance around others.” The health system also encourages people to avoid gathering or gathering more than five people at a time.
The McKee Medical Center, Poudre Valley Hospital, and Rockies Medical Center combined with 43 ICU beds and 37 other critical care beds in specialist units such as cardiac care or neurological ICU can be used as ICU beds, according to a Coloradoan analysis of the Colorado Data linked Hospital.
Both health systems have booster plans that allow them to rapidly increase ICU capacity by reopening rooms used during a pandemic peak in the spring and by converting single rooms into rooms. double.
Out of UCHealth’s and Banner Health’s five regional hospitals in Larimer and Weld counties, 65 ICU beds and another 47 beds can be used as special care rooms. There are a total of 840 beds.
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UCHealth’s Longs Peak Hospital and Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs provide 15 additional ICUs and critical care beds and 90 overall beds compared to the system’s capacity near Larimer and Weld counties.
If the national estimates are accurate and about a third of coronavirus hospitalizations would require ICU level care, then North Colorado could still see hundreds of inadequate beds.
North Colorado established an alternative care site at The Ranch in the event of hospitals overcrowding with COVID patients until early October when Governor Jared Polis closed the facility.
It is one of five respite sites established statewide, but the need for spillovers never comes to fruition.
Pat Ferrier is a senior correspondent on business, healthcare and growth issues in North Colorado. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Support her and other Colorado journalists’ work by buying subscriptions today.
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