ICU capacity in Craig is stable; COVID shots now available for kids

Moderna COVID-19 vials seen inside the storage container at Moffat County Public Health, located on Pershing Street.
Craig Press file

Despite COVID surges causing high ICU capacity across the state of Colorado, intensive care capacity at Memorial Regional Health remains stable, Interim CEO Jennifer Riley said on Tuesday.

Currently, there are three people in the COVID unit at MRH, leaving six spots open. Riley also said that MRH has been able to cover COVID cases and regular medical cases this week. Transferring patients to higher levels of care (if needed) has not been an issue either, Riley said.

In other parts of the state, however, that is not necessarily the case. According to reporting from the Steamboat Pilot and Today, there are seven ICU beds left in Northwest Colorado — just 11% of its usual 65. According to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 26 new cases were reported in the county yesterday.

On Monday, Dr. Eric France, CDPHE Chief Medical Officer, said that all eligible Coloradans over 18 years old to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose six months after receiving either Pfizer or Moderna and two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and France estimated that one in 48 Coloradans is infectious, meaning they can transmit COVID-19 to someone else. The latest public health order from CDPHE prevents any vaccine administrator from turning away adults who want to get the booster if it has been six months since their last dose of Pfizer or Moderna (or two months since receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

Currently, children 5 to 11 years old can now receive their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Doses administered to children are smaller than those given to adults. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is administered as a two-dose primary series, three weeks apart, but is a lower dose (10 micrograms) than that used for individuals older than 11 (30 micrograms), according to the FDA. In authorizing the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use in children — the only COVID vaccine cleared for kids — the FDA said it was 90.7% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, and there were no serious side effects in the 3,100 children studied who received it.

In the trial, common side effects were similar to that of adults who receive the vaccine, including arm pain, headache, fatigue and nausea, which went away after a couple of days, according to the FDA’s report. It is mandatory for Pfizer Inc. and vaccination providers to report any serious adverse events, cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome and cases of COVID-19 that result in hospitalization or death in vaccinated individuals.

Riley said that twice weekly, the hospital hosts vaccine clinics for parents to schedule vaccines for their children. Clinics are on Mondays and Fridays, and, so far, 10 children received their first doses on Monday, and five are scheduled to come to the clinic this Friday.

As winter months and flu season arrives, local public health officials are urging the community to consider vaccination — especially since COVID-19 tends to be more severe when it coincides with other respiratory issues that could arise from the flu or from RSV, which is expected to be worse this year than in years past. Flu vaccines are also available to the public, and those are approved for anyone over the age of six months old.

More Like This, Tap A Topic

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.