“We have to continue to be smart and respectful,” Colorado doctor says

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AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — As parts of Colorado prepare to ease restrictions during this pandemic, the chief medical officer at the Medical Center of Aurora has this advice.

“The key of getting back to normal is our understanding that we’re not going to be flipping a switch,” said Dr Phil Stahel.

He says that’s true for residents, and medical personnel.

“I believe that the community in Colorado has been privileged not to see the tremendous amount of surges that we’ve seen on the east coast in New York and New Jersey, and we have to continue to be smart and respectful,” he said.

The Medical Center of Aurora is caring for the most COVID patients in the HealthONE system. The hospital increased its ICU bed capacity by 22, and set up separate areas and protocols for COVID patients.

To manage their needs, the hospital got support from other HealthONE facilities.

“We were never at risk of being short of PPEs, or ventilators,” he said.

Dr. Stahel says the medical community has learned a lot the last six weeks. That will be helpful as hospitals, which have cut back on elective surgeries, will soon start to add some procedures back in.

“So we have to be very smart in designing processes that are safe for our patients, safe for our staff, and reinitiate what we call essential elective procedures,” he said.

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