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Larimer County health officials worry about fall as hospitals remain at or above capacity

The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment is urging the community to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as the fall months approach.

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — Health officials in Larimer County urge residents to get vaccinated and wear their masks as the fall and winter months approach to help keep hospitalizations down. 

The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment said in a press release that they are bracing for a potential surge in COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and influenza (flu). The number of people getting sick could bring a large number of patients into hospitals. 

Hospitals in Larimer County have been at or above capacity for over four weeks, according to Tom Gonzales, the Larimer County public health director. 

"I am very concerned about our standard care for any medical emergency in Larimer County," he said.

According to Gonzales, hospitals are having to turn away patients because there isn't enough room in the county. They are transporting patients to other facilities along the I-25 corridor.

On July 14, Larimer County said there were 10 patients with COVID-19 in county hospitals. On Saturday, 86 patients were hospitalized. Since September 1, 26 patients have died from the virus. The county said the majority of the people who passed away were unvaccinated. 

>Video above: Q&A about COVID-19 and the vaccine

As of Oct. 9, Larimer County ICU utilization is at 105% of the level of customary care. 40 percent of patients in the ICU have COVID-19.

With the potential increase of COVID-19, RSV, and the flu, Larmier County is asking the community to help stop the spread by doing the following: 

  • Get the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot 
  • Get the flu shot
  • Wear a mask indoor
  • Postpone large indoor gatherings 
  • Stay home if you're sick 
  • If exposed to COVID-19, wear a mask and get tested
  • Do not attend school or work if you've tested positive for COVID-19

"Even if we have a mild influenza season with 100 hospitalizations, on top of COVID-19, our hospitals are going to be overwhelmed," Gonzales said. 

Larimer County is anticipating at least a mild influenza season. Last year, Gonzales said they only had three hospitalizations for the flu. 

"That was due to being in Colorado," he said. "The Colorado dial, wearing our face coverings, staying at home, and we don't have many of those restrictions right now."

This is the second time this year Larimer County officials have urged the community to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Back in August, ICU beds in the main hospital were at full capacity

"If you have a regular health emergency, whether that is a heart attack, a trauma from an accident, we don't have beds for these individuals," he said. 

Anyone in Larimer County looking to get vaccinated can visit the Larimer County website to see where they can get vaccinated and make an appointment.

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