Colorado addresses hospital staffing crisis, COVID boosters

Colorado News

The terms “immunization” and “vaccination” are often used interchangeably to describe the process by which an individual is made resistant to disease, such as COVID-19. But do they really mean the same thing? (Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

DENVER (AP) — Colorado has reactivated crisis guidelines for staffing at healthcare systems across the state as COVID-19 hospitalizations and infections continue to rise, and state health officials said Tuesday that anyone 18 and older qualify for a booster shot.

“Crisis standards of care” allow hospitals to maximize the care they can provide in their communities with the staff they have available.

More than a third of hospitals reporting to the state said they expected a shortage of intensive care beds in the next week, and nearly two in five said they would be short-staffed, The Denver Post reported. On Tuesday afternoon, 1,426 people were hospitalized statewide with COVID-19.

The crisis guidelines allow hospitals to redirect health care workers to help out in strained units, with an experienced worker overseeing them; consider having nurses work longer, ideally less-frequent shifts; if possible, have family members or volunteers help patients with hygiene to free up medical staff; and activate the Colorado National Guard for nonclinical jobs, like COVID-19 testing or delivering supplies.

The guidelines do not apply to emergency medical services, acute care facilities, out-of-hospital care providers, specialty patient populations, or to personal protective equipment.

Meanwhile, Jessica Bralish, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said all adults in the state are eligible for a booster shot because they live or work in a high-risk area, a guideline put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“With an estimated 1 in 48 Coloradans infected, it is likely that all Coloradans can be exposed to COVID-19 where they live or work,” she said.

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