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Larimer County intensive care units reach full capacity

Graphic illustration of a figure floating inside of a COVID-19 bubble
(Graphic illustration by Charlie Dillon | The Collegian)

The intensive care units in Larimer County are at full capacity as we move toward flu season and the COVID-19 delta variant continues to thrive among the unvaccinated.

In the last three weeks, ICUs in Larimer County have been at or over 100% capacity, and the majority of people in the ICU who tested positive for COVID-19 are unvaccinated residents, said Kori Wilford, a health educator and communications specialist at Larimer County Department of Health and Environment. 

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Wilford said 38% of people in the ICU are sick with COVID-19. 

Amid the rise in cases of the delta variant of the coronavirus, there have been cases of people taking ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19, but many have been hospitalized as the drug is meant to treat animals with parasites

“So about 40% are COVID(-19), and no one condition should ever take up that much of an ICU,” Wilford said. “It should be a mix of things.” 

“I believe that 99.1% of all the COVID(-19) variants in the United States that are being reported are the delta variant,” said Dr. Marjorie Bessel, chief clinical officer at Banner Health, during a press conference Sept. 15. 

The delta variant is more than twice as contagious as the other variants. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some data point to the delta variant causing more severe symptoms than previous variants. 

Amid the rise in cases of the delta variant of the coronavirus, there have been cases of people taking ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19, but many have been hospitalized as the drug is meant to treat animals with parasites

“For humans, ivermectin tablets are approved at very specific doses to treat some parasitic worms,” the Food and Drug Administration said on their website

“I want to make it very clear that ivermectin is not an FDA-approved treatment for COVID(-19),” Bessel said. “Clinical trials are ongoing to assess ivermectin for COVID(-19), but no clear findings have been released that confirm this drug is safe or is an effective form of treatment.”

Ivermectin being used as a vaccine alternative shows there are still levels of distrust with Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. In Larimer County, 60.2% of residents are vaccinated. 

“With the delta wave, because it is so much more contagious, wearing a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status is also really, really important,” Wilford said. 

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Even though ICUs are at capacity in Larimer County, they are able to put patients in the progressive care unit, Wilford said. 

“I know it has been a long and frustrating journey for many of you,” Bessel said. “Vaccination is the best way for us to put an end to the pandemic.”

For more statistics about the infection rate of COVID-19, people can go to the Larimer County COVID-19 Dashboard webpage.

Austria Cohn can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @AustriaCohn

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