DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado has become one of the biggest hotspots for COVID-19 in the country, despite a high vaccination rate. Transmission is so high, the Denver Broncos are now asking fans to wear masks inside Empower Field at Mile High.
As Gov. Jared Polis pushes for boosters for every Colorado adult through executive action, he’s also asking the federal government to fortify hospital staff to help with a shortage of beds.
As of Thursday, 1,466 Coloradans are in the hospital with COVID-19, a record-high in 2021. Bed capacity continues to be a concern, with only 570 acute care beds and 72 intensive care unit beds available as of Thursday.
Eight out of 10 Coloradans in the hospital with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, according to state data. One in 48 Coloradans are contagious with the virus.
The governor has a five-point plan to increase hospital capacity, as available beds are at a pandemic low:
- Expanding hospital capacity, target 500 new beds
- Expanding the use of monoclonal treatment
- Making indoor events safer through vaccine requirements
- Expanding boosters by issuing an Executive Order declaring Colorado as high-risk, making everyone who is six months past their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or two months past their Johnson & Johnson, eligible to get boosted
- Regulatory relief to enhance the healthcare workforce
Staffing shortages continue to drive the lack of hospital beds in Colorado.
“We’ve seen national estimates that as many as one in five in health care has left over the course of the pandemic,” said Cara Welch with the Colorado Hospital Association.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 1.69% of employees in the state’s healthcare system have been fired or have quit due to vaccine mandates.
Polis and State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy gave a briefing on the latest COVID-19 challenges Colorado is facing. You can watch the briefing on FOX31 NOW in the player above.