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Colorado National Guard medical personnel perform coronavirus test on a motorist at a drive-thru testing site outside the Denver Coliseum Saturday, March 14, 2020, in Denver. Officials planned to administer 150 tests but the line of vehicles wrapped around three city blocks. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness.

The number of coronavirus cases in Colorado rose Wednesday by nearly 400 from the 2,966 announced by Governor Jared Polis Tuesday afternoon. Of those who’ve tested positive for the virus, 620 are hospitalized. The death toll had risen from 69 late Tuesday to 80. 

Coronavirus could overwhelm Colorado hospitals by June unless the state increases the number of beds for the most seriously ill patients and develops a system for freeing them up as patients recover, a state health official warned Wednesday.

“The physical space and capacity within our health care system will be challenged,” Scott Bookman, the state’s coronavirus incident commander, said at a news conference at the state’s emergency operations center in Centennial.

- Full coverage of coronavirus in Colorado

To meet the expected surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in coming weeks, Colorado will need more of everything — intensive care beds for the critically ill; beds for those who require hospitalization but aren’t critically ill; doctors, nurses and other health care workers; and medical equipment and supplies, Bookman said.

Colorado could need at least 5,000 beds — 1,800 are currently available — for the gravely ill by mid-April and at least 10,000 to 12,000 more beds for other coronavirus patients by mid-May, he said.

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