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Metro Denver public health officials issue advisory amid surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations

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Posted at 7:04 PM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 21:36:59-04

DENVER — The Metro Denver Partnership for Health has issued a statewide public health advisory due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

As of Thursday, Colorado’s daily case rate was 49 per 100,000, which was the fifth highest in the country and one of the fastest growing, according to public health officials.

On Friday, state data showed 3,306 cases of COVID-19 were reported in Colorado and there were 1,383 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, a number not seen since December 2020. On Oct. 30, the metro region had 581 hospitalizations due to COVID-19, a number which has been increasing over the past weeks.

About 80% of recent COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to be among the unvaccinated.

According to an updated statewide modeling report from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, if Colorado remains on this trajectory, COVID-19 hospital demands could reach more than 1,500 by early December. This is still below the more the peak of more than 1,800 people hospitalized in December 2020, but it's possible, though not likely, the state could exceed that peak, the CDPHE said.

According to the Colorado Hospital Association there were only 100 ICU beds available on Friday. Metro Denver hospitals are full or nearing capacity due to both COVID-19, non-COVID-19 emergencies and other routine visits, with less than 10% of staffed beds available, the MDPH said.

The CHA just this week made the decision to move to Tier 3, the highest tier available, for the Combined Hospital Transfer Center, which allows hospitals to transfer patients without their consent but requires hospitals with space to accept new ICU patients.

Nearly 40% of hospitals report current or anticipated staff shortages within the next week, according to the MDPH.

With these concerns in mind, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the MDPH is advising the following:

  • Anyone eligible should get fully vaccinated, including children ages 5-11, and higher risk groups should get a booster shot if it’s been six months since their last dose.
  • Get a flu shot, which can be given at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Wear a mask in crowded public indoor spaces — like restaurants, bars, gyms and places that don’t require proof of vaccination — whether vaccinated or not
  • Move gatherings and events outdoors whenever possible to increase ventilation.
  • Get tested if experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and stay home while waiting for test results.
  • High-risk individuals, including anyone not fully vaccinated or immunocompromised, should consider staying out of public indoor spaces until the case rate has declined.
  • People ages 12 and up who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 should consider monoclonal antibodies as a treatment to prevent severe illness.

If trends don’t improve as the region moves into the flu and holiday seasons, public health officials may issue other advisories as needed.

At a news conference last week, Gov. Jared Polis said he was preparing to ask the federal government to supply medical surge teams and is considering stopping elective surgeries as well as considering moving back to crisis standards of care and a patient transfer system if hospitalizations continue to grow.