Larimer County Hospitals Face Third Week of ICU Capacity Over 100%

UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital Pharmacy operations manager Linda Gordon prepares the hospital’s first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday morning. The health system started distributing the vaccine to health care workers this week. Photo by Kelly Tracer, UCHealth.

Larimer County health officials are alerting residents that traditional critical care capacity in Larimer County hospitals is being exceeded. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity has been at or above 100% since August 30, 2021.

In late July, the Delta variant of COVID-19 began spreading rapidly, causing Larimer County COVID-19 case numbers, and subsequently, hospitalizations to increase. The Delta variant is extremely contagious and those who are unvaccinated are the most at risk. According to the CDC, an unvaccinated person is five times more likely to be infected, and more than ten times more likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19.

On July 14, there were 10 patients with COVID-19 in Larimer County hospitals, and today, 76 patients are hospitalized, with nearly 40% of patients in the ICU having COVID-19. In August and September, Larimer County lost 22 residents to COVID-19. The majority of those hospitalized or who have passed away have been unvaccinated.

Tom Gonzales, Larimer County Public Health Director is grateful and has extended heartfelt thanks to the healthcare workers who have taken on extra shifts under very challenging circumstances. “Hospitals are proactively managing and monitoring every turn of this pandemic and finding creative solutions to be able to provide exceptional care for all patients.”

“UCHealth’s priority is to continue to serve patients throughout Colorado, caring for patients who come to our hospitals with emergency medical needs,” says Kevin Unger, president and CEO of UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies. “By adding surge units, postponing non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures, and by relying on our dedicated staff and providers who are picking up additional shifts, we are expanding our capacity while continuing to provide excellent care for our patients and the communities we serve.”

With the increase in hospitalizations, Larimer County hospitals are being overburdened. While the hospital systems throughout Colorado are doing an excellent job caring for patients, the healthcare providers need relief so they can swiftly and adequately treat all urgent medical needs in our community. Critical care staff is needed throughout the country right now and additional resources are not readily available.

“We have been running at or over capacity in our NOCO hospitals for three weeks with very sick COVID and non-COVID patients,” said Margo Karsten, Banner Health Western Region president. “This puts enormous strain on health care operations and our team members. We want to provide the best care possible for Northern Colorado residents, and for us to be able to do that we need your help to end the pandemic. Please get the COVID-19 vaccine if you are eligible. It is safe and effective, and Pfizer is now FDA approved. Also, we recommend wearing a mask indoors and continuing to social distance when possible.”

The Larimer County Health Department reminds residents that getting vaccinated, wearing a mask indoors, monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms, isolating when feeling ill, and getting tested are all vital steps to return to pre-pandemic life.

“Once again I am pleading with our residents to take this situation seriously. We can no longer ask our hospitals to carry the burden of this preventable disease,” says Tom Gonzales, Larimer County Public Health Director. “The Delta variant changed the game and getting vaccinated and wearing a mask indoors are important actions that we all need to be taking right now.”

The Larimer County Department of Health & Environment has a webpage dedicated to helping residents find information about COVID-19 vaccination and register for an appointment at The direct link to schedule an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine is: Individuals may also call LCDHE at 970-498-5500 for assistance scheduling an appointment. Phone assistance is available in English and Spanish.

Information about COVID-19 is constantly changing, and the public health response adjusts as more is learned about this virus. While there is plenty of news and media information available, LCDHE is encouraging Larimer County residents to view the latest credible information on COVID-19 at or Additionally, residents are encouraged to follow LCDHE’s Facebook and Twitter accounts at @LarimerHealth.

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