Polis takes tour, explains how alternative care site will relieve pressure on hospitals Fort Collins Coloradoan
The openings of Colorado’s coronavirus alternative care sites — including one at The Ranch in Loveland — have been delayed as hospitals continue to meet the state’s health care needs.
The care site at The Ranch was initially set to be operational by the end of April, but the United Coordination Center in charge of the alternative care sites announced April 20 that the site wouldn’t open until May 15. Now the opening has been pushed back to June 11 and could be delayed further depending on the need for the facility, said Kevin Klein, director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
“If there’s no demand, we’re not going to pay to staff it,” Klein said.
Klein said they won’t open these facilities unless the state’s hospitals begin to get overwhelmed, which hasn’t happened yet after the many steps taken at the state and local levels.
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As of Thursday afternoon, 628 people were hospitalized across the state with confirmed COVID-19 and another 170 hospital patients had coronavirus symptoms that are under investigation, according to the state health department. No facilities in the state reported anticipating ICU bed shortages in the next week.
Klein said they are preparing for the potential of a second peak of the virus in the fall and will wait until then to re-evaluate the need for these facilities.
“We’re planning for the worst, hoping for the best,” Klein said.
Scaled down from the initial 1,000 beds, The Ranch is now expected to hold 200 beds for recovering COVID-19 patients.
The care site constructed at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver — which is now set to open June 4 — has been scaled down from 2,000 beds to about 250 beds, Klein said.
The capacity at each location can be scaled up if needed, he added, but so far the facilities have not been needed at all.
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The care sites at The Ranch and the convention center are built to house recovering COVID-19 patients who no longer need critical care.
The state has also leased three other facilities in Grand Junction, Pueblo and Westminster as alternative care sites for recovering coronavirus patients with more acute cases, including patients from senior living or long-term care facilities. Those facilities are set to open in late June or early July.
“These sites are like the state’s health care insurance policy to ensure we are prepared to take care of our Colorado community,” Unified Command Center Incident Commander Mike Willis said in a news release.
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Sady Swanson covers crime, courts, public safety and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at email@example.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support our work and local journalism with a digital subscription at Coloradoan.com/subscribe.
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