Boulder officials and the area’s hospitals are solidifying plans for dealing with both a surge in local coronavirus cases over the next several weeks and the economic fallout resulting from the pandemic, including anticipated hits to city revenues.
An ongoing emergence of clarity on how the recently passed $2 trillion federal aid package will be distributed has helped local leaders orient their efforts to obtain funding. Concerns currently receiving attention from City Council include the anticipated shortfalls Boulder County’s residents, small businesses and local government agencies will face in covering rents, mortgages, payrolls and public services as a result of extraordinary public health orders mandating widespread building closures and limits on gathering.
Simultaneously, hospitals across the region are getting ready to handle Colorado’s caseload, which is expected to peak over the next month.
“We are still working under the assumption that we will need four to five times the critical care beds,” Boulder Community Health CEO Dr. Robert Vissers said. “We’ve developed a capacity plan, and model or contingency plan that allows us to increase our critical care beds and ventilated patients to that four-to-five-fold number. Those will be the patients that we really need to take care of that nobody else can. … If we can move patients out more quickly and keep patients from coming into the hospital, then we can manage those critical care patients at that four-to-five-fold increase.”
But even after the expected surge, public health orders and social distancing guidelines may still need to remain in place, in the absence of greater virus testing, monitoring and containment abilities.
“If we don’t have control on the back end of that, meaning we have the ability to do monitoring in Colorado, community-based testing in Colorado, and the ability to do capacity and containment in Colorado, once the (stay-at-home) orders lift, we could see a surge…
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