Mesa County Hospitals Reaching Limits for Beds, Staffing

Local News

A hospital bed (Nexstar, file)

MESA COUNTY, Colo. — Area hospitals are reaching critical thresholds for capacity and staffing due to COVID-19. Mesa County Public Health monitors hospital capacity and bed use. As of November 18 there are no ICU beds available. 

All area hospitals will begin activating surge capacity to ensure additional rooms and beds are ready to use. This is possible due to a robust collaborative planning process that has been in place since the start of the pandemic. The activation of this additional capacity signals yet another pivotal point in the local COVID-19 response.  

“St. Mary’s, like other healthcare facilities across the nation, has been and continues to be impacted by COVID-19 as cases continue to rise in Mesa County,” said Bryan Johnson, President, St. Mary’s Medical Center. “We have hospital beds available, and we have surge plans in place that will allow us to grow capacity and ensure safe, quality care to as many patients as need us,” he continued. “We all have a role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Please be proactive and do your part to take the necessary precautions. Wash your hands, wear a mask and continue to practice social distancing.” 

More than 2,000 cases have been reported among Mesa County residents during the past two weeks. Approximately one in 130 people in Mesa County has COVID-19, based on current testing data. That means in a week, if you encounter 20 people a day outside of your household, you are likely to be in contact with someone who has COVID-19.

“Widespread community transmission has had an impact on long-term care facilities, the jail and our homeless population, often through staff who pick the virus up in the community. Hospital employees are being impacted too and if hospital staff are isolated due to illness, they’re not able to care for patients,” said Jeff Kuhr, Executive Director of Mesa County Public Health.“Everyone is at greater risk for contracting this disease across the board. Each of our individual behaviors is ultimately leading to more hospitalizations and more deaths,” Kuhr added.

There is an urgent need for staffing in local hospitals.“This is a call to arms,” VA Western Colorado Health Care System Executive Director, Richard Salgueiro said regarding staffing issues, encouraging all community retired or displaced clinical personnel to step in if possible.

It is vital we protect our healthcare workforce. To ensure our community is able to respond adequately, safety precautions including no visitor policies are in effect at SCL Health St. Mary’s Hospital, Community Hospital, Colorado Canyons Hospital and Medical Center, and VA Western Colorado Health Care System.

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