DENVER (CBS4) – Rising hospitalization numbers in Colorado are a raising concerns in hospitals that the trend is just gaining speed. The latest numbers from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment show a 5.11% positivity rate in the 8,910 test results back on July 16.
“We have now opened up a lot more businesses, people are socializing a lot more. The weather’s changed, people are outside more, they’re gathering more… including, potentially, tourists coming in and visiting Colorado, as well. that could also be a factor in all of this,” theorized said Dr. Connie Price, chief medical officer at Denver Health Medical Center.
But figuring out the origins of the increase is elusive. Still, Denver Health and other hospitals are seeing increases that worry experts.
“Over the last 48 hours we’ve had a pretty big jump in patients.” About a third there.
It worries the Colorado Hospital Association, too.
“I believe the governor used the word yesterday, ‘alarming’ and we share that view,” said Julie Lonborg, senior vice president of communications. “That’s inching up faster than we would like, faster than we think is sustainable over the long haul.”
Hospitals have been preparing as numbers leveled off, then dropped, by stocking up on supplies like PPE. But now, a rise in cases in places like Arizona, Texas and Florida means even preparing is more difficult.
“Our supply chain is a bit rocky again at the moment so we’re not able to rebuild those inventories and those supplies at the rate that we had hoped, but right now we do have enough,” said Lonborg.
Colorado currently report 273 people being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals. Another 140 people in hospitals are being checked for the virus.
“Inevitably it starts infecting those who are more vulnerable and prone to hospitalization and I think we’re now seeing that,” said Price. “We are seeing a trend toward some younger patients. Still they tend to have at least one of the risk factors for severe COVID that would require hospitalization.”
The good news is treatments have improved.
“We now know we have some proven therapies that will shorten the duration of hospitalization due to COVID that we didn’t have early on,” explained Dr. Price. “We have some data on some other drugs that are used in severe disease that have shown promise and we know a bit more about appropriate use of treatments such as when to use a ventilator.”
But the increase may mean a demand for more hospital beds. Colorado has increased its critical care beds in the months since the start of the pandemic, but there are limits. There are still unused centers for treatment at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver and the Ranch in Loveland. Hopefully, they won’t be needed.