Colorado governor prepares to expand state’s COVID hospital capacity, push vaccine requirement for large indoor events

Jesse Paul and John Ingold
The Colorado Sun

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said he is preparing to expand the state’s hospital bed capacity, urge cities to require that people who attend large indoor events are vaccinated and speed up the distribution of coronavirus vaccine boosters as COVID case rates and hospitalizations in the state reach what he called a “crisis.”

Polis, speaking Wednesday to a group of medical advisers, said he also wants to hasten efforts to eliminate regulatory hurdles around the strained health care workforce and expand the use of monoclonal antibody treatments, which can reduce hospitalizations.

“If we see hospitalizations continue to increase, this is the playbook,” Polis told his Governor’s Expert Emergency Epidemic Response Committee.

Polis said the steps he took in recent weeks to address rising hospitalizations — pausing cosmetic procedures, requesting federal health care teams and managing patient transfers — are “not going to be enough.”

More than 1,400 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Colorado as of Tuesday, the highest level since December 2020. Seventy-nine percent of those hospitalized are not vaccinated.

Ninety-three percent of the state’s intensive care hospital beds are being used.

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