A water tower emblazoned with “HUGO” is pictured above the entrance to Lincoln Community Hospital in Hugo on Wednesday, Feb. 24 2021. Photo by Andy Colwell, special to The Colorado Sun

Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to increase at the same time that the number of beds available in the state has declined.

The state has an average of 815 beds available, less than 100 of them in intensive care units, Colorado’s pandemic incident commander Scott Bookman said Friday.

As of Friday, there were 1,296 people with COVID-19 in Colorado hospitals. That’s less than Colorado’s pandemic hospitalization peak in December 2020 when 1,847 people were being treated for the virus. However, at that time, 1,800 extra beds were available, Bookman said.

He said the number of beds has declined for a number of reasons, including the number of people who have ended up in hospitals after delaying care earlier in the pandemic, an increase in the number of people needing trauma care as people have resumed more normal activities and others seeking mental health treatment because of the pandemic.

He also suggested a lack of staff was partially to blame, saying beds require staff and health care workers are “burned out.”

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Colorado has risen over the past two weeks from 2,255.00 new cases per day on Oct. 20 to 2,854.43 new cases per day on Wednesday.