Colorado Gov. Urges Residents to 'Get Vaccinated' and 'Boosted' as ICUs Near Capacity

Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued an urgent plea to unvaccinated residents of his state on Thursday, as hospitals fill up with COVID-19 patients.

"We want you here. We want you to be healthy. Please get vaccinated," Polis said during a news conference, according to the Colorado Sun.

"Show that you love yourself. Show that you support your friends and family that want you to be here for many years to come. Get protected. Get vaccinated. Get boosted," he added later.

Polis' message came as the state's ICUs are around 90 percent capacity. As of Thursday there were only 120 intensive care beds remaining.

The Colorado Sun noted that current rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations hasn't been as high since December 2020.

As of Friday, 1,130 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Colorado, according to data from the state's health department. According to the department, 36 percent of hospitals said they are anticipating staffing shortages within the next week.

Scott Bookman, the COVID-19 incident commander within the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, said Thursday that state hospitals are delaying some procedures to preserve hospital capacity.

"Surgeries are being canceled, brain surgeries, heart surgeries are being delayed because of a lack of availability to provide care to those patients due to the impact of COVID hospitalizations," Bookman said in a statement.

"I join the Governor...in urging all Coloradans who have not yet been vaccinated to take that step to get their first shot. And I also urge those that are eligible to get their booster to do so as soon as possible," he added.

Colorado Gov Urges Vaccination as ICUs Fill
Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued an urgent plea to unvaccinated residents of his state on Thursday, as hospitals fill up with COVID-19 patients. Above, Polis speaks at a press conference the morning after a gunman opened fire at a King Sooper's grocery store on March 23, in Boulder, Colorado. Chet Strange

Polis also said Thursday that he was considering deploying the National Guard to help administer booster shots and vaccinations for children and also help with the state's hospital capacity "crisis," the Denver Post reported.

The governor said that the rise in hospital cases "is a very stark reminder for anybody who thought the pandemic was over," according to the newspaper, which noted that nearly 80 percent of those hospitalized with the virus in Colorado are unvaccinated.

Colorado's State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said that the rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations are occurring "across all age groups."

"The rates are increasing a little more rapidly though in some of our older populations, specifically in our 70+ population. This is an important reminder of the importance of booster doses to protect individuals who are at a higher risk of severe disease, especially hospitalization or death," Herlihy said in a statement.