DENVER -- An increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across Colorado is prompting new concern and procedures from hospital systems statewide. Nearly 100% of new cases come from the delta variant that is infecting younger and healthier Coloradans.
"The key thing is for people to recognize is that even if you're younger, you still can end up in the hospital," said UCHealth senior medical director of infection control and prevention Dr. Michelle Barron. "You could end up in the intensive care unit, and you can be quite sick from it."
Other health systems are seeing increased strain as well. HealthOne has experienced a doubling of hospitalizations from COVID-19 in the past 20 days. Officials there say one in three of those cases require ICU care and one in six require a ventilator.
"There is a continual flow of patients admitted and discharged from the hospitals," a statement from the hospital reads. "Our hospital leaders are continually monitoring the situation."
In Northern Colorado too, cases continue to rise. Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith pleaded with his residents on Facebook, asking them to reconsider getting vaccinated if they have not already.
"The most recent report was that 100% of our ICU beds are filled, with COVID related hospitalizations accounting for that rapid increase," said Smith in the post. "If you’ve questioned the efficacy of these vaccines or if you didn’t consider the vaccine to be as critical to you because you were middle aged or younger, now may be the time to reconsider that decision as this variant is demonstrating much more of an impact on you than the earlier variant."
The state of Colorado reported nearly 800 hospitalizations for suspected or confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, numbers not seen since January 21, with 86% of ICU hospital beds currently in use.
The delta variant now accounts for 96.6% of all reported cases in Colorado, according to the state's website. About 67% of the state's population is fully vaccinated.