BY FREDA MIKLIN
Although Governor Polis has focused on finding 500 additional hospital beds for use in our state’s acute care hospitals rather than instituting a statewide mask order, on November 22, Tri-County Health Department (TCHD), representing Arapahoe and Adams counties, voted five to one to require the wearing of masks in most indoor settings effective “November 24, 2021 through January 2, 2022, and thereafter until staffed ICU beds availability is above 10%.”
Arapahoe and Adams join Jefferson, Larimer, Boulder and Pitkin Counties that have also adopted mask mandates. Denver is expected to follow suit shortly.
According to numbers posted on the TCHD website, intensive care unit (ICU) beds in Arapahoe County were 100% occupied as of November 22 and all hospital beds in the county were 98.3% occupied. In Adams County, 92.5% of ICU beds and 98.1% of all hospital beds were being used.
Statewide, as of November 22, 95% of all ICU beds were in use and 94% of all hospital beds are occupied. These are the highest numbers ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
As of November 22, 83% of the 1,565 Coloradans hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Also of concern is the fact 46% of all Colorado hospitals reported that they anticipate staffing shortages during Thanksgiving week.