With Colorado registering the fifth-highest infection rate for COVID-19 in the nation, state hospitals and health systems activated the Combined Hospital Transfer Center’s Tier 3 on Nov. 3, the highest tier available.

Under the designation, COVID and non-COVID patients can be transferred from a hospital that doesn’t have enough capacity or needs to move patients for a different level of care. Under a governor’s executive order, the transfer center can direct transfers without a patient’s consent.

“This is an extraordinary step taken by the state’s hospitals and health systems,” said Darlene Tad-y, Colorado Hospital Association vice president of clinical affairs. She stressed that Tier 3 “should send a clear message to Coloradans: Our health care system is in jeopardy of being overwhelmed.”

The activation helps hospitals manage patient transfers on a statewide level as concerns about hospital capacity continue to escalate, the CHA said in a news release. The CHTC was reactivated at Tier 1 in August when COVID hospitalizations started rising, a trend that’s ongoing and puts a “monumental strain” on the state’s health care system.

Meantime, FEMA announced on Nov. 2 it had paid $8.3 million for funeral expenses for COVID victims in Colorado, a program opposed by Rep. Lauren Boebert.

No COVID guidelines are in effect in El Paso County where county commissioners oppose mask and vaccine mandates

Senior Reporter

Pam Zubeck is a graduate from Emporia State University. She worked at the Tulsa Tribune before coming to Colorado Springs, where she spent 16 years at the Gazette and in 2009 joined Colorado Publishing House.