Bookman and Governor Jared Polis announced during the press conference that Colorado now has the lowest ICU bed availability since the start of the pandemic. Hospitals are beginning to implement "surge" protocols, including canceling surgeries.
Bookman made an important clarifying point: the waning availability of ICU beds in the state, while largely due to COVID-19 cases,
"The difference between this wave and all past waves, is that Coloradans have returned to their normal lives. Those who have been vaccinated have been given the opportunity to go out and live their lives," Bookman explained. "What comes with that is additional cases of trauma, additional heart attacks, additional strokes." All of these things contribute to the lack of open hospital beds.
Alex Burness with The Denver Post noted on Twitter that more than COVID-19 cases or deaths, hospital capacity has been the governor's largest motivating factor for implementing restrictions in the past. As of September 10, 902 Coloradans are hospitalized with COVID-19, the second-highest peak since the spring of 2020.
"I cannot stress enough the state that are hospitals are currently in today—the stress that they are feeling, the impact that this wave is having on them, and the absolute importance of getting vaccinated to end this pandemic," Bookman said. "The burden of the unvaccinated on our hospitals is profound, and it impacts all Coloradans because those that are vaccinated will struggle to get the same level of care in the hospital that they would get if there were fewer COVID hospitalizations."