Telluride Medical Center: Stay Home Now to Change Trajectory

With additional COVID-19 cases reported this week, and signals of distress from partnering hospitals, doctors at the Telluride Regional Medical Center have an urgent plea to locals: Stay home.

Regional COVID-19 hospitalizations are at all-time highs, and with Colorado’s third wave putting some hospitals at or beyond capacity, doctors at the Telluride Medical Center are hoping to appeal directly to residents to flatten the local curve to protect the overall health and well-being of the community. “Stop traveling. Stop gathering. Stop going to work or school with symptoms,” said Dr. Christine Mahoney, director of Primary Care.

For nine months, medical staff at the Telluride clinic have built out their testing tools, protocols, and ability to meet the needs of the community. “We’re so much more prepared this winter to meet the demands of this virus,” said Dr. Diana Koelliker, director of emergency services. But we must change this current trajectory now. Every one of us has to do their part to flatten the curve — that hasn’t changed.”

Positive cases are announced by San Miguel County Public Health. Twenty-five new cases were reported earlier this week, with more cases coming in toward the end of the week.

Telluride Medical Center reports their own COVID-19 test positivity rate is currently at 6 percent; the goal according to Dr. Mahoney is less than 1 percent. In some surrounding counties, positivity rates are reaching 20 percent. “It’s a terrifying trend but already regional hospitals are near or at capacity,” said Dr. Koelliker.

On Friday, for the first time during this pandemic and for the first time ever, some regional and state hospitals went so far as to communicate they could not admit any incoming patients from outside facilities, including the Telluride clinic. “The status is called ‘On Divert,’ and that’s exactly what our partners at St. Mary’s in Grand Junction told us on Friday,” said Dr. Koelliker.

The Telluride Regional Medical Center, which is a Level V Trauma Center, counts on regional partners like St. Mary’s and Montrose Memorial Hospital to take ill or injured patients needing hospitalization or surgery. “Now is the time our entire state must change its current trajectory in order to protect everyone, including the healthcare system and its workers,” said Dr. Koelliker.