The Colorado wildfire that destroyed more than 1,000 homes last month has forced the temporary closure of a hospital and upended the lives of health care workers as the state’s already strained health care system braces for another surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Avista Adventist Hospital in Louisville, Colorado, a community outside Boulder that was devastated in the wildfire that erupted Dec. 30, has been closed due to smoke damage and officials have not announced when it might reopen. In addition, at least 36 people who work in hospitals in the region lost their homes, while others sustained smoke damage to their homes that may prevent them from returning home.
The temporary loss of a single 114-bed hospital out of more than 25 hospitals in the Denver-Boulder metropolitan area might not normally be cause for concern. But it comes at a time when the state’s health care system is near capacity, health workers are stressed by the nearly 2-year-old pandemic, and hospitalizations are rising as the omicron variant drives a new spike in COVID cases.