Health Care

Colorado governor warns of rationed care as state hits 80 percent vaccination threshold

Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) on Monday warned that surging COVID-19 cases in unvaccinated people was bringing Colorado closer to rationing hospital care, even as the state has reached a partial vaccination rate of 80 percent.

“It’s the 20% who haven’t been vaccinated that are filling up our hospital wards,” said Polis at a news briefing, according to Bloomberg. “We would have none of these hospital capacity issues, or orders would be operative, if everybody was vaccinated.”

The governor said Colorado may soon have to ask the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist with overrun hospitals.

Polis lamented that these problems are particularly tragic because they are “essentially entirely preventable.”

On Sunday, Polis signed two executive orders in an effort to help his state’s hospitals. One order allows hospitals emergency departments to turn away patients, directing them to other facilities, while the other clarifies when “Crisis Standards of Care” can be activated to ration care. Both orders are set to expire in a month, though they can be reactivated, Colorado Public Radio (CPR) reported.

As Bloomberg noted, Colorado’s vaccination rates is one of the highest in the country. Its hospital bed occupancy rate, however, has been averaging around 90 percent for the past few weeks.

According to CPR, 80 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.

On Sunday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also issued a new health order to ease hospital capacity issues. The order instituted a pause on cosmetic procedures that can be put off for six months without causing “harm to life, limb or function.”

Tags Colorado COVID-19 hospitalizations COVID-19 vaccinations hospital capacity Jared Polis Jared Polis

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