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Colorado Racing to Add Hospital Beds Before Surge of COVID-19 Cases

US Dept of Defense / Airman 1st Class Nicholas Dutton

Colorado’s coronavirus response team is racing to add thousands of additional hospital beds to handle a projected surge of new cases in the coming weeks. KUNC’s Scott Franz has more.

Incident commander Scott Bookman says area hospitals could be overwhelmed by a surge of new COVID 19 cases sometime between April and July. To meet the need, Bookman says Colorado is working to increase its critical care capacity to 5,000 beds by April 18.

BOOKMAN: "We also know based on the clinical evidence, that these patients are going to require intensive care. They are going to be severely ill and they will be ventilator-dependent from anywhere from an average of 11 to 20 days."

He says arenas, warehouses, and stadiums could soon house healthier patients who are recovering from the virus. The state is also looking to free up ten thousand beds at hotels and dorms to isolate and quarantine other patients who aren’t showing symptoms.


Scott Franz is a government watchdog reporter and photographer from Steamboat Springs. He spent the last seven years covering politics and government for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, a daily newspaper in northwest Colorado. His reporting in Steamboat stopped a police station from being built in a city park, saved a historic barn from being destroyed and helped a small town pastor quickly find a kidney donor. His favorite workday in Steamboat was Tuesday, when he could spend many of his mornings skiing untracked powder and his evenings covering city council meetings. Scott received his journalism degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is an outdoorsman who spends at least 20 nights a year in a tent. He spoke his first word, 'outside', as a toddler in Edmonds, Washington. Scott visits the Great Sand Dunes, his favorite Colorado backpacking destination, twice a year. Scott's reporting is part of Capitol Coverage, a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.
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