shutterstock_1669697443 COVID-19 coronavirus

Colorado could run out of hospital beds by the end of the year if the state’s COVID-19 trends continue unchecked, Governor Jared Polis said in an Oct. 27 update. 

“The trends are unsustainable and these numbers are very concerning," Gov. Jared Polis said. "If these trends continue, we will exceed May hospitalization numbers — the peak of our first wave — by next month, and the most recent modeling predicts that we’ll exceed all of our existing hospital capacity by the end of the year.

“There’s time to fix this by staying safer at home, signing up for Exposure Notifications, wearing a mask when you have to be out, avoiding groups, and washing your hands regularly.”

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment launched the COVID-19 Exposure Notification system Oct. 25 to boost the effectiveness of contact tracing.  

At the update, three COVID-19 survivors shared stories about their experiences, challenges, and lingering health issues from the virus. 

“I hope this is a wake-up call and Coloradans heed the advice of COVID survivors like Barbara, Kim, Clarence, and many others who are dealing with the health and personal challenges that stem from this deadly virus,” Polis said.

Barbara — only her first name was given — was in the hospital for 91 days, 65 of which were spent on a ventilator. 

“I don’t recognize myself,” she said. “This is a serious illness and I never said ‘Why me?’ because the answer is really ‘Why not me? We just don’t know and for people who think they are immune or won’t get as sick: you just don’t know, so it’s important to be very careful.”

Kim, a COVID survivor and family nurse practitioner, said, “I was always on the go; I was a runner and I often would drive my partner nuts because I would race to the top of the mountain because that’s just who I was. 

“Today, anything more than a slow walk to the mailbox requires oxygen. I haven’t been able to do many of the things that used to bring me joy — I can’t run, go to the mountains, I haven’t regained the stamina or grip to play my drums again. It’s affected every organ system in my body and every person in my life.”

“[W]hen I hear certain people say that this isn’t real, or it’s just a bad cold or flu or even that it’s a hoax, I find that very distributing because it’s so much more than that,” COVID survivor Clarence said. “It’s 100 percent real and we can’t do too much to be safe and protect ourselves and protect those around us. I don’t wish this on anyone.”

Scott Bookman, CDPHE’s COVID-19 incident commander, discussed hospitalization data and highlighted the dashboard on hospital capacity, which is updated daily at 10 a.m.

“We want to do everything we can to avoid overwhelming our hospitals,” he said. “However, we have been preparing the Colorado healthcare system since the beginning of the pandemic to ensure the best possible scenario for Coloradans.”