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Co. Springs area hospitals could reach capacity if COVID-19 trend continues

covid testing line

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Dr. Leon Kelly told El Paso County Commissioners Tuesday morning bluntly: hospitals are beginning to complain that they'll reach capacity if the upward trend of COVID-19 cases continues.

Kelly, the deputy medical director with El Paso County Public Health, said that testing time has begun to rise -- results had been taking one day, but now they can take two to three days or upwards of a week. This is in line with the big increase in testing at UC Health's testing site near Memorial Park.

During Tuesday's county commissioner's meeting, Kelly also said that younger people are making up about 30% of the county's cases of COVID-19. He said that's largely because people in that age group are working directly with other people.

Kelly specifically called out the plight of younger people working jobs like pizza delivery, restaurants, and grocery stores. He said they don't have the luxury of working from home because they aren't as economically comfortable as people in older age groups. Though, he did acknowledge that some of the uptick in that age group could be attributed to young people thinking they're "invincible."

While the deputy medical director said that El Paso County has been successful with contact tracing, he reminded commissioners that if people aren't careful, it could result in businesses being closed again. EPC Public Health did a survey at the largest Walmart in the area and counted about 60% of people wearing masks, but Dr. Kelly said compliance needs to be 80-90% or above.

Commissioner Chairman Mark Waller said they're not considering a mask mandate at the moment.

Commissioners also said they want data that shows people who were protesting aren't responsible for the increase in the 20-29 age group. Last month saw numerous protests with large gatherings in Colorado Springs after George Floyd's killing.

Dr. Kelly responded by saying "we'd always like to know more, but we have to go with what we have now." He said that Public Health wasn't at the meeting to demand a mask mandate or tell businesses they need to close, but he said they're there to ask commissioners what they're going to do to stop the spread, get people to wear masks, and keep businesses open.

We'll update this article with more information when available.

Article Topic Follows: Colorado Springs

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