Colorado doctors react to restaurants and more businesses opening

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — It’s not just restaurants in Denver and surrounding counties that are getting ready to possibly see crowds as they open; hospitals and doctors are too.

During the last two and a half months that restaurants and other businesses have been closed, Colorado has been able to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Colorado hospitals are currently using about 1/3 of their ventilators and none are expecting a shortage of intensive care unit beds or personal protective equipment in the next week, according the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

On April 14, Colorado hit a peak and had 888 patients in the hospital for COVID-19. In the last month, that number has been steadily decreasing and as of Wednesday is at 362.

Centura Health’s 17 Denver-area hospitals have had just two new COVID-19 patients admitted in the last 24 hours.

“Our citizens have done a great job of staying at home and not just slowing the spread of the virus, but really almost suppressing it. It’s been very impressive,” said Dr. Steve Cobb, chief medical officer of Centura’s Denver Metro Operating Group.

“As a community, we’ve shown that we can very powerfully reduce the spread of this virus by how we behave,” Cobb said.

Denver Health has also seen a decrease in COVID-19 patients recently, and has increased the size of its intensive care unit.

“It’s somewhat reassuring, but it’s also a little nerve-wracking thinking about the community opening up and relaxing our social distancing and how that could lead to a second wave,” said Dr. Thomas MacKenzie, Denver Health’s Chief Quality Officer.

While other hospitals have been able to stockpile personal protective equipment, MacKenzie said Denver Health is concerned about its supply if there’s a surge of coronavirus patients soon.

Meanwhile, the hospital can currently test and analyze about 570 coronavirus samples daily. In the next few weeks, it hopes to increase that number and be able to test people who aren’t showing symptoms.

“That grand hope is that you’ll be able to identify cases very quickly and be able to identify all the people they’ve been in contact with and isolate all of them very quickly,” MacKenzie said.

Doctors said that as restaurants and businesses open, it’s important for people to keep their distance as much as possible, wash their hands and cover their faces in public.

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