DENVER – Colorado hospitals on Friday reactivated Tier 1 of the Combined Hospital Transfer Center to move patients around the state as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to increase and some near their capacity for available beds.
Tier 1 of the CHTC first was activated last November during the rapid influx of hospitalizations in Colorado’s third wave, but it was deactivated in February as case and hospitalization numbers waned in Colorado.
The Colorado Hospital Association said some hospitals in the state are starting to report concerns about bed capacity and staffing shortages. The activation of Tier 1 allows hospitals to transfer patients to different hospitals with better capacities or that can provide the necessary care.
That helps rural hospitals, which generally have fewer beds and fewer acute care options than Colorado’s urban hospitals, are able to transfer patients more easily so they can get the care they need.
Colorado data showed that 1,463 of the 1,715 intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the state were in use on Friday and that there were 793 confirmed or suspected COVID-10 patients currently hospitalized. The state’s data says 9% of hospitals are anticipating ICU bed shortages in the next week and 18% were anticipating staff shortages over the same time period.
Regional-level data shows in the Plains to Peak Regional Emergency Medical and Trauma Services Advisory Council area, only 9% of ICU beds are available. In the Northeast region, 10% are available, and in the South region, 11% are available.
The data shows that 1,564 of 9,552 acute care beds in the state are currently available. The number of acute care beds in use has jumped by nearly 300 over the past 30 days.
Darlene Tad-y, MD, the vice president of clinical affairs for the Colorado Hospital Association, reiterated that many of the hospitalized people have not been vaccinated and said getting more people to get the shot would help “change the course” of the current surge.
“The CHTC helps us efficiently use all the resources available in our hospitals throughout the state to provide lifesaving care for Coloradans who need it,” Tad-y said in a statement. “At a time when we don’t know how large this surge may be or how long it may last, this type of resource will be crucial to our response.”