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Association says Colorado hospitals are telling ambulances to take patients somewhere else more frequently

The Colorado Hospital Association said hospitals are diverting patients due to COVID-19 cases filling up beds, staffing shortages, and more trauma cases.

COLORADO, USA — Hospitals are getting so busy that more and more, they're telling ambulances to take patients somewhere else, according to the Colorado Hospital Association (CHA)

"That tells the EMS providers who would typically bring patients to the hospital that they need to bring that patient to the next hospital," CHA spokesperson Cara Welch said.

Welch said hospitals will go on divert for a couple of hours to manage patient volume. She believes hospitals are doing this more frequently now for a number of reasons, including more COVID-19 patients filling beds, more trauma cases and issues with staffing shortages. 

"The ERs have been full, our ICUs are very full, and so hospitals are having to use that tool in addition to a number of others to manage capacity," she said. 

A spokesperson for South Metro Fire said that on the radio, he's heard hospitals go on divert more often. He said one to two years ago EMS rarely had to worry about it, but now he's hearing about it every evening. 

Denver Health said it was diverting patients off and on over the weekend because of a high number of patients.

Welch said trauma cases will not be turned away when a hospital goes on divert. 

"So it might be a stroke patient, chest pain, potentially a heart attack, but we are not talking gunshot wounds or massive traumas," she said. 

When patients need care most, this tool can help take them to a place where they will be seen the fastest. 

"If we could get our COVID hospitalizations down, that could take a lot of pressure off of our hospitals," Welch said. 

RELATED: Colorado sees highest COVID hospitalizations since January, while cases slowly decrease

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