Update on hospital capacity in Mesa County
At Community Hospital, with the ongoing surge in Covid-19 cases, they are consistently very close to capacity. With ICU beds nearly full at 90% and above.
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - According to Mesa County Public Health, 55 Mesa County residents are currently hospitalized with Covid-19.
At local Mesa County hospitals, capacity had decreased last fall after the Delta surge. But with the current Omicron surge, the capacity went right back up. At Community Hospital, with the ongoing surge in Covid-19 cases, they are consistently very close to capacity. With ICU beds nearly full at 90% and above, mostly involving people who are unvaccinated.
“Once a patient is hospitalized for Covid, their length of stay is 3-4 times longer than any other illness,” said Community Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Tobin. “So its not just the fact that they’re taking up the bed, but they’re taking up that bed for several weeks.”
At Community Hospital, between 10-20% of admissions right now are due to Covid-19. Dr. Thomas Tobin says that is a large percentage of admission for just one illness. He also says a large part of capacity is related to the pandemic but not directly because of Covid-19.
“We’re seeing an increase in severity of illness of any kind of illness,” said Dr. Tobin. “I think some of that has to be attributable to delay in care who haven’t sought out care for the last year or two years because of Covid. They’ve stayed away. Now what could’ve been a relatively minor or not as severe illness now is very severe and requiring a higher level of care.”
Comparing the Delta surge and the current Omicron surge, Community Hospital is not seeing much of a difference. That is contrary to what some health officials believed about the Omicron variant, that because it wasn’t as severe, it could potentially lead to fewer hospitalizations.
“Percentages of people infected needing hospitalization is less now,” said Dr. Tobin. “But the number of people needing hospitalization has not changed. Inside the hospital we’re not feeling a difference. The ED is seeing a difference because more people are going home. But because there’s so many more people coming in, we’re still getting the same number of admissions.”
In line with Community Hospital, Family Health West is seeing similar capacity, at 88% bed capacity with five Covid-19 patients. Officials say the hospital could reach full capacity this week, depending on volumes.
On the other hand, officials with St. Mary’s say they are experiencing a stabilization of Covid-19 patient admissions. But that they are requiring an increased level of care due to the severity of symptoms.
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