Vaccine, testing options expand in Grand as state struggles with COVID hospitalizations
COVID-19 cases are remaining steady in Grand County, but the state reported Friday that less than 105 ICU beds are available statewide.
Three Grand County residents were hospitalized due to COVID-19 as of the county’s most recent update, with one resident vaccinated, one unvaccinated and the vaccination status of the third patient unknown.
Grand County is part of the Foothills RETAC region for sharing ICU beds. Just 5% of beds, equal to 12, are currently available in the region. Multiple regions in Colorado have no beds available at all with only 7% of ICU beds open across the state.
Last weekend, Gov. Jared Polis issued executive orders that give the state greater authority to direct transfers of patients between hospitals, along with laying the legal groundwork for hospitals to ration care if they become overwhelmed.
On Tuesday, Grand County Medical Officer Dr. Jason Stuerman explained to county commissioners the difficulties local hospitals are having with transferring patients to the Front Range due to capacity levels.
He said local hospitals are working to purchase medical equipment so they can treat COVID patients at high elevation longer until a bed is available at a Front Range hospital.
Vaccines continue to be the best way to prevent hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. According to current statewide numbers, 78% of those currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
Providers across Grand County are now offering free booster vaccines for the general public, along with first and second doses.
Booster doses are recommended for anyone over age 65 and for people at a higher risk for complications due to their health, living or work conditions.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado’s prevalence of COVID-19 makes the state a high-risk place to live and work. The agency recommends anyone over 18 who would like a booster and is six months past their initial series of vaccines or two months pass their Johnson and Johnson vaccine to get one. The booster shot can be any authorized vaccine and does not have to be the same kind as the initial dose.
The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for emergency use authorization for 5- to 11-year-olds by the Food and Drug Administration. Grand County Public Health will be hosting a vaccine clinic for this age group from 9 a.m. to noon at Middle Park High School and 1-3:30 p.m. at the Kremmling Library on Friday, Nov. 12.
There will also be an information table at the clinic for parents to ask questions. The second dose clinic is scheduled for Dec. 3 with the same times and locations.
Additionally, Fraser Medical Center and Byers Peak Family Medicine will have vaccines for children available.
CDPHE is now offering a drive thru COVID-19 testing site noon to 6 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at the Inn at Silvercreek. The site is providing free saliva PCR tests.
For more on local vaccinations and tests, go to http://www.co.grand.co.us/COVID19.
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