Colorado Hospital Association Statement on Colorado Hospital Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, COLO. – March 18, 2020 –
In the past few days, many Colorado hospitals have moved from a mitigation response to the COVID-19 outbreak to a surge response. This means that the hospital has seen a marked increase in the number of patients presenting with respiratory illness who need hospitalization and further testing. Hospitals have anticipated this change, and because we have seen how quickly it has escalated in other countries and other states, Colorado hospitals have been preparing for a surge related to COVID-19 for the past several weeks.
Those hospitals are putting specific plans in place, which will include steps to address three key components – supplies, staff and space. Their work includes personal protective equipment (PPE) conservation, postponing elective procedures, expanding/refashioning facilities to create additional critical care beds or negative pressure rooms, securing alternative discharge options so that patients no longer need acute hospitalization can be moved out of the hospital, increasing staffing and more. As the spread of COVID-19 continues, we anticipate that more Colorado hospitals will transition to surge response and will be making these types of changes.
In addition, the availability of test kits for Colorado hospitals is limited. While we appreciate the work by the state and the private labs to provide testing, we believe that the reported numbers are much lower than the actual spread of COVID-19 in our state. Specifically, the current data show only 20 hospitalizations, but our hospitals report having many more hospitalized patients who are likely COVID-19 positive but are still awaiting test results.
Because the demand for testing is outpacing the supply, it is crucial that hospitals prioritize testing for patients who are in the hospital needing acute care, health care workers and first responders and those presenting to the hospital ER with life-threatening illness. Those with mild symptoms should first talk with a primary care provider and seek testing at a community testing site – not at the hospital ER. This helps hospitals preserve precious resources like PPE, staff and testing kits for those patients who may have severe illness.
We all have a critical role to flatten the curve of the virus and to conserve hospital and health system capacity for the acutely ill.
About Colorado Hospital Association
Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) is the leading voice of Colorado’s hospital and health system community. Representing more than 100 member hospitals and health systems throughout the state, CHA serves as a trusted, credible and reliable resource on health issues, hospital data and trends for its members, media, policymakers and the general public. Through CHA, Colorado’s hospitals and health systems work together in their shared commitment to improve health and health care in Colorado.
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