Nov 9, 2021 - COVID

Colorado sounds the COVID alarm as FEMA team arrives at hospital

Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Colorado's COVID-19 infections continue to rise faster than any state in the nation, new data shows.

Threat level: At the same time, the number available hospital beds across the state is dwindling β€” hitting a low of 80 at the start of this week.

What's new: Colorado now says every resident 18 and older is eligible for a COVID-19 booster under federal guidelines because the virus is spreading so rapidly across the state.

  • The state on Tuesday reactivated the crisis standards of care that prioritize treatment of patients and address staffing liabilities.
  • A Federal Emergency Management Agency team arrived in Pueblo to assist hospital staff overrun with COVID cases β€” a first for Colorado in the pandemic.
  • A special advisory issued by the state in partnership with Denver metro public health agencies urged residents to wear masks in crowded indoor public spaces and get vaccinated.
  • The state's newly issued hospital projections were exceeded just three days after they were rolled out, the Denver Post reports.

The intrigue: Gov. Jared Polis is staying the course.

He has not issued any orders requiring masks or capacity limits in hard hit areas β€” even though the state imposed tougher restrictions when rates hit this level last December.

  • The governor defended his approach Tuesday, tweeting the difference now is that 62% of the population is fully vaccinated.

Between the lines: The state's leading public health experts are now saying herd immunity is not a path out of the pandemic, the Colorado Sun reports.

  • The reason: New research is showing that immunity wanes, even in those who contract the virus, so vaccines and prior infections won't keep protection levels strong enough to limit the spread.

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