Doctor says peak of COVID-19 cases in Summit County is a few weeks away | SummitDaily.com
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Doctor says peak of COVID-19 cases in Summit County is a few weeks away

An outdoor COVID-19 virus testing area is pictured at Summit Community Care Clinic in Frisco on March 30.
Liz Copan / ecopan@summitdaily.com

DILLON — Summit County and the state are likely just a few weeks away from the peak of new coronavirus cases, according to Summit Community Care Clinic Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kathleen Cowie. 

“I think we’re reaching our peak,” Cowie said. “Just talking this week with folks from (St. Anthony) Summit Medical Center and from other medical providers in the state, we’re getting close, but we’re not quite there yet.”

Officials from Centura Health, parent company of St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, said Monday in a news release that the company expects the “health systems’ and communities’ response to COVID-19 to be critically important these next two weeks through at least the end of April and into early May in Colorado.” 

The release stated that 14 of the 17 Centura hospitals have COVID-19 patients in the acute or intensive care units. As of Monday, those patients were occupying 203 ICU beds, 552 medical and surgical beds, 96 negative pressure isolation beds and 112 ventilators. Centura also stated that the company still expects to see a “significant increase of critically ill patients.”

Representatives from the local hospital have declined to say how many suspected COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized. They also will not say how many ventilators they have on hand.

Cowie said that while the county is still on the upslope of new coronavirus cases, she expects the peak will be reached within weeks. The clinic is seeing more patients due in part to the ability to conduct more COVID-19 tests, but Cowie said she still thinks the clinic is adequately supplied for the increase in patients. She explained that testing has been expanded due to mobile testing capabilities as well as a change in testing methods at the clinic.

“Public health has expanded their testing capabilities with the mobile unit, and then here at the Care Clinic, we’ve also been able to expand our testing exponentially because we’re working with a different media,” Cowie said.

The new saline-based test is much more readily available than the previously used test. The saline-based tests also are having a faster turnaround time in the lab, Cowie said. She reported the clinic is seeing about a two day turnaround time with the new tests. 

By the numbers
Summit County
  • Positive: 146
  • Hospitalized: 41
  • Deaths: 2

Source: Summit County Public Health

Colorado
  • Positive: 15,284
  • Hospitalized: 2,697
  • Deaths: 777

Source: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Updated at 2:30 p.m. May 1.

“Because of our expanded testing capacity, we’re doing a lot more tests, which is great,” Cowie said. “It’s keeping us a lot more busy. It’s good for our community because people have access to what they need, and then it’s good for the Care Clinic to keep us running.”

Last week, the Summit Community Care Clinic reported that patient volumes were down from what is typical for this time of year — something the hospital also has experienced — but on Wednesday, Cowie said the main clinic is now close to the patient volumes it had prior to the start of the new coronavirus pandemic.

While the clinic is still mostly seeing patients via telehealth, she said they are able to see more patients face to face with the increased testing in the respiratory den, an open-air room where the clinic conducts tests. 

“We’re not quite what we were before because the Care Clinic also operates six school-based health clinics, which obviously are closed at this time, and so that’s been still a hardship for us,” Cowie said. “So we’re not quite at a full operating capacity by any means; however, we’re finding creative ways to keep our doors open.”


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