COLORADO SPRINGS — Numbers are an important measure in the battle against COVID-19 in Colorado. They also represent real people suffering from the disease. Then, there are many more health care workers caring for the people who are sick.
"For those of our local residents who continue not to believe this is a serious situation, all I can say is you are very, very wrong," Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said when he went to UC Health Memorial Hospital to better understand the COVID-19 threat.
"Seeing people of all ages even previously healthy people struggling to breathe, some on ventilators is sobering to say the least," Suthers said.
The number of COVID patients at UC Health hospitals just in southern Colorado is at 125 with the number just one day ago at 111. The mayor is updated daily on numbers for all hospitals in El Paso County. He says “six weeks ago it was 15 people” as of Wednesday morning it is 242. In the last 24 hours, six people in El Paso County died related to COVID.
"I don't think the numbers show the entire picture because we're talking about nurses at the bedside for hours and hours taking care of those patients,” said UC Health Medical Director Dr. David Steinbruner. "[It’s] about turning them, about holding their hand when they're scared and when they're isolated from their families."
Steinbruner says patients are now surging beyond the COVID-19 wards. It requires shifting resources and staff from other areas of the hospital. It is pushing the limits of dedicated healthcare workers.
The tour happened a day before the start of the Thanksgiving holiday. The mayor wants to emphasize the importance of downsizing and distancing through the holiday. If not, there is a high likelihood of numbers getting even worse in the weeks ahead.