COVID-19 hospitalizations fill ICU beds to capacity at Denver Health

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — Hospitals across the state say they are concerned about a wave of COVID patients expected in the weeks and months to come. 

Some are already seeing their ICU’s full. But now there is a bigger problem. ​There is not enough staff to see all the patients. 

For the past week, the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Denver Health has filled to capacity several times. All 47 beds, have at times been taken because of a surge of COVID-19 patients. 

Denver Health’s Chief Quality Officer Dr. Thomas MacKenzie says, “We are approaching the kind of numbers that New York faced back in the spring. I’m worried that we will run out of room in our hospitals in the City and County of Denver and throughout the metro area.”

Denver Health is now beginning to send overflow ICU patients to regular hospital rooms retrofitted for COVID patients. On Monday, a dozen of those rooms have been brought online. There are more available if needed.

The lack of ICU rooms is just one of the challenges facing Denver Health now. 

“We are not only seeing a surge in COVID 19 patients, but we are seeing a lot of patients who have delayed necessary care this year and our hospital is busting at the seams with the mix of COVID and NON COVID patients,” MacKenzie said. 

In Colorado, over the past seven days 84% of the state’s ICU hospitals beds have been in use. 

That’s the highest number since the pandemic began. 

“We’ll be at the point where we will have to make very tough decisions as to who gets an ICU bed and who doesn’t if there are none left in the city,” MacKenzie added.

The Colorado Hospital Association says lack of staffing now will pose even bigger problems. Spokeswoman Julie Lonborg said “staffing shortages” are taking place nationwide. 

Colorado can not depend on help from other states because they have shortages of their own. 

Denver Health is now considering doubling up non-COVID patients in single patient rooms. 

The hospital is also beginning to cancel needed, but non urgent, elective surgeries. 

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