Department of Defense deploys more staff to northern Colorado to help with COVID-19 battle

UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital.
UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital.(CBS Denver (KCNC))
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 8:52 PM MST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2021 at 9:00 PM MST
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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KKTV) - The Department of Defense is stepping in to help with the COVID-19 pandemic in Colorado.

A medical team will be sent to northern Colorado to UCHealth’s Poudre Valley Hospital as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to climb.

The team, funded through FEMA, will add dozens of beds to hospitals that need it the most and staffing to help with patients and monoclonal treatments.

Parkview Hospital in Pueblo already has extra help right now. When it comes to Colorado Springs, the state says it’s a possibility, but they are still in coordination with health systems.

“It’s definitely on our radar, but we’re still in coordination with El Paso County and with the health systems in Colorado Springs,” Mike Willis, the director of the Colorado Office of Emergency Management said. ”We were looking for a good location and a staff asset to do a monoclonal treatment in Colorado Springs as well.”

The state says this shows how stressed hospitals are right now.

“I think there is tremendous evidence in now that the hospitals are dealing with quite a large number of unvaccinated patients that probably wouldn’t have had to go to the hospital if have they chosen to be vaccinated,” Willis said.

Willis says more boots on the ground will be a big help for Colorado hospitals.

“When we can add an asset that opens additional capacity, I think, you know--it’s never good for me to speak on behalf of the hospitals--so yes, it’s very helpful to be able to add capacity to assist with the burden.”

A team of 20 is heading to Poudre Valley hospital in Fort Collins. That’ll add about 30 beds. Parkview in Pueblo has since been able to add 16 beds since help was deployed there this month.

“When we were working with Parkview, they gave us a good idea of what their needs were. And then we work with the National Disaster Medical System Team to provide those.”

With Colorado having only 81 free ICU beds in the state, Willis says now is the time to do your part.

“Take the opportunity to get vaccinated. If you haven’t, if you need a booster, get your booster and do your part to stay out of the hospital. Hospitals are stressed. Don’t be part of the problem. Be part of the solution.”

The help for hospitals in the northern part of our state will be there next week.

The state is also looking at putting teams in Larimer County, Loveland, and Mesa County.

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