Mesa County has no beds available in hospital intensive-care units because medical facilities in the region are filling with patients amid surging coronavirus hospitalizations across Colorado, local public health officials announced Thursday.
Officials with Mesa County Public Health said local hospitals also are approaching capacity in terms of both overall beds and staffing, because of widespread community transmission of COVID-19. The county’s hospitals ran out of ICU beds on Wednesday, according to a news release.
“We have hospital beds available, and we have surge plans in place that will allow us to grow capacity and ensure safe, quality care to as many patients as need us,” said Bryan Johnson, president of St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction, in a statement.
The announcement that hospitals in Mesa County are filling up comes almost a week after Gov. Jared Polis asked Colorado health systems to submit plans for how they plan to increase capacity in preparation for the possibility that hospitals become overwhelmed.
Mesa County has recorded more than 2,000 new coronavirus cases in the past two weeks, and it is estimated that one in 130 people in the county has the disease COVID-19, according to the news release.
Statewide, a record 1,428 people were hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 on Wednesday. The percentage of intensive-care unit beds in use across Colorado also set a new record, with 86% filled on Wednesday.
Hospital capacity is fluid and can change day by day based on supplies, the number of patients — both with and without COVID-19 — and the staff available to treat them.
“There are times when we have more patients in hospitals than beds,” said Dr. Sandeep Vijan, chief medical officer at Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, adding that the facility holds patients in the emergency room before moving them in such scenarios.
Parkview has transferred 10 patients to facilities in UCHealth’s system in Colorado Springs and Denver. But, Vijan said, the hospital did not surpass 100% capacity on Monday, as Polis announced in a news conference this week.
Parkview has about 220 medical and surgical beds and 42 intensive-care beds. Almost 50% are filled by patients with COVID-19, Vijan said.
One of the biggest issues hospitals are facing is with staffing. Health systems have reported more employees are becoming sick with COVID-19 because of how widespread the disease is across the state.
Richard Salgueiro, executive director of VA Western Colorado Health Care System, encouraged retired or displaced health care workers to step in if possible.
“This is a call to arms,” he said in a statement.
This content was originally published here.