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Denver hospitals are seeing ICU beds fill up

9NEWS checked in with some of Denver's biggest hospitals to see how they were doing.

DENVER — Colorado has nearly 900 people in the hospital with COVID-19; 83% of them are unvaccinated. 

As the COVID cases continue to raise, Colorado hospitals are seeing a strain on their resources. 9NEWS checked in with some of Denver's biggest hospitals to see how they were doing.


UCHealth currently had 246 COVID-19 patients; 102 of them are in the ICU and 92 of those ICU patients are on a ventilator. 

According to UCHealth officials, 82% of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. 

"We are definitely continuing to see an increase unfortunately in hospitalizations with this COVID surge, and we’re seeing higher numbers than we have seen in many, many, many, months," said Dr. Jean Kutner, UCHealth's Chief Medical Officer. "Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen record number of people coming into emergency departments and we definitely want people to come in for care, but when you put that combination of people seeking care for non-COVID issues, as well as on top of the COVID, it is definitely stressing our hospitals." 

UCHealth is postponing some non-urgent procedures to relieve some of the stress of the recent increase in hospitalizations. Official say staffing has been a challenge as well.

"Yes, I will not lie; it is tough right now on our entire healthcare workforce," Kutner said. "We do need the help of everybody right now because we do want to be here to care for you, care for your family and be here when you need a hospital bed and need our expert staff."


HealthONE, the company that runs Swedish Medical Center and Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center, told 9NEWS in a statement its COVID-19 patient admissions have tripled in the past 30 days. About one-third of those COVID-19 patients are in the ICU, and half of the ICU COVID patients are on ventilators.

"We expect this trend to continue for the coming few weeks as we approach the next peak in activity," spokeswoman Stephanie Sullivan said in a statement. 

"The vast majority of COVID-19 patients being treated in our hospitals are unvaccinated. We strongly encourage people in our community to get the vaccine and follow the CDC's recommendations for preventing the spread of the virus."

Denver Health

Denver Health told 9NEWS while their ICU department is doing OK, they have seen an increase in patients. 

"I think that part of what we’re seeing if for about 18 to 20 months people were not getting their routine care, and so even if they don’t have COVID, they’re still ending up in the hospital, and that is with COVID putting an added strain on," Critical Care Dr. Anuj Mehta said. 

"In terms of our intensive care unit, we’re seeing high censuses of much higher than they were pre-pandemic – not as bad as spring 2020 but not too far from that."

Mehta said Denver Health is also regularly taking in patients from other states that are maxed out of ICU beds. He hopes the surge and strain gives the unvaccinated perspective. 

"Everybody is tired; they’re strained, but we’re continuing to show up and do the work that we need to do. And I think that it becomes harder with the sheer number of cases and the underlying fact that this COVID surge is again preventable," he said.