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Arizona DHS plans to increase hospital beds amid COVID-19 pandemic

(Arizona Department of Health Services screenshot)

PHOENIX — Arizona Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ announced Monday that the state is planning to take action to provide more hospital beds for the growing number of coronavirus patients.

“Arizona has a plan for increasing our health care capacity,” Christ said during a press conference.

The plan focuses on providing more hospital beds by expanding treatment areas in existing medical facilities and utilizing alternative areas of treatment for those in need.

This includes the use of triage tents outside of emergency room departments; utilizing hospital rooms, recovery areas and other unused portions of hospitals to provide additional beds, according to Christ.

She noted that there are currently 16,905 licensed hospital beds and 1532 licensed ICU beds in Arizona.

“We’re also working on utilizing alternate care sites to provide additional capacity beyond the hospital,” Christ said.

This measure includes reactivating closed hospitals, utilizing space in ambulatory surgical centers, respiratory training facilities and large non-medical venues such as Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Venues such as the Coliseum would provide “step down” care to patients who are healthy enough to be discharged from a hospital but not healthy enough to return home, according to Christ.

Christ also said her department is working with Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to secure additional federal resources, including two field hospitals for Phoenix and one for Tucson.

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