Nov 4, 2021 - COVID
COVID's strain on hospitals hits new level in Colorado
Data: New York Times; Cartogram: Will Chase and Kavya Beheraj/Axios

One in every 51 Coloradans is infected with COVID-19 — pushing hospitals to the brink more now than at any other point during the pandemic.

Threat level: The state's hospital association announced Wednesday it is moving to the highest level at its transfer center for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

  • Tier 3 status at the Combined Hospital Transfer Center will now permit officials to transition patients out of crowded facilities on a statewide basis.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order this week allowing hospitals to turn away patients because of capacity constraints.

What they're saying: "This is an extraordinary step taken by the state's hospitals and health systems," said Darlene Tad-y, the association's vice president for clinical affairs.

By the numbers: Hospital bed usage remains at the highest level since COVID started at 90% for acute care hospitals. The occupancy rate of intensive care unit beds is greater at 92%, the Colorado Sun reports.

  • About 80% of those hospitalized with the coronavirus are unvaccinated, state officials said.

The big picture: In a briefing this week, Polis expressed frustration about the trend line even as he rebuffed mask mandates and other public health orders.

  • "The 20% that haven't yet chosen to get protected are putting themselves at risk — which you can certainly argue is their own business, and I have no qualm if they have a death wish — but they are clogging our hospitals," he said.
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