CSU Veterinary Hospital Loans Ventilator to Local Hospital to Fight Future COVID Cases – CBS Denver

LOVELAND, Colorado (CBS4) – As the delta variant of COVID-19 increases across the country, UCHealth in northern Colorado is partnering with renowned Colorado State University Veterinary Hospital to ensure that anyone needing care at a local hospital can receive them. CSU loaned its animal hospital ventilator to UCHealth to ensure the hospital has the tools it needs for any potential spike in COVID cases in the immediate future.

On Saturday morning, the Larimer County Health Department reported that all intensive care beds in the county had been taken. Sheriff Justin Smith took to Facebook calling the spike in COVID-19 cases a “cause for concern” and encouraged people to get vaccinated.

(credit: CBS)

Marilyn Schaefer, UCHealth’s Northern Region Director for Respiratory Therapy, told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas that most UCHealth hospitals in northern Colorado are at or near capacity with patients battling COVID-19. Schaefer said the partnership with CSU gives the healthcare system a head start in its battle.

“All of our state hospitals and our system are seeing a huge increase in the number of patients coming through our doors daily,” Schaefer said. “In our intensive care rooms, we are at a point where we have never had to double them, put two people in an intensive care room. But, because the capacity is so big right now, that’s what we have to do.

Schaefer said UCHealth has enough ventilators to provide proper care for intensive care patients. By receiving ventilators on loan from outside entities, like CSU, the hospital is better prepared to accommodate more potential patients.

“With the high number of patients we are seeing in our community, we need to reach out to our community members and clinics for additional ventilators to ensure we can care for the sickest patients who come through our doors,” Schaefer said.

CSU’s Kelly Hall, an associate professor of critical care services, said this is the third time UCHealth and the university have partnered in loaning the ventilator.

“We are sending one of our ventilators that we use for our dog and cat patients to UCHealth,” Hall said. “Being able to offer devices that help human health that we use in animal patients is really important to us.”

(credit: CBS)

The ventilator is not designed specifically for animals and is a brand used by many hospitals treating humans around the world. CSU said they were able to lend their ventilator to UCHealth without compromising their business or service to the community because they have other ventilators specifically for animals.

Both Hall and Schaefer said they hoped the fan’s second time on loan would be the last time. But, with cases on the rise across the region, both entities wanted to make sure the tool was available.

“We were all really hoping that we were on the downward slope of the virus and that we could get things back to normal. But, as it turned out, our numbers have increased significantly. Our positivity rates have really started to move in a direction that makes the healthcare community uneasy,” Schaefer said. “It’s a tool that we hope will save some lives, educate some people and help make a difference.”

A Boulder County UCHealth doctor said every patient with COVID-19 at his hospital is unvaccinated. Sheriff Justin Smith has joined health experts in encouraging people to get vaccinated not only to protect themselves, but also to help ease pressures on hospital systems.

Benjamin M. Yerger