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Peak of coronavirus cases in Arizona projected for late April, study says

(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

PHOENIX — A new study projects Arizona is less than a month away from reaching the peak for the coronavirus pandemic.

The study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington projects the state will peak on April 26. That’s the day when nearly 5,000 coronavirus patients will likely be hospitalized.

“According to the data that we have received from the American Hospital Association, Arizona has enough beds available to meet this demand,” said Abraham Flaxman, author of the study.

However, the study also projects Arizona will be short about 200 beds in the intensive care unit when the state peaks for “resource use” on April 26.

Flaxman said there are no comparable sources yet to tell how many ventilators are available for hospitals in Arizona. But the study projects nearly 600 will be needed.

Flaxman added he believes hospital administrators will take steps to prepare and “be ready for this additional surge capacity.”

Right now, the state is averaging two to five deaths per day caused by the coronavirus.

The study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects Arizona will reach the peak for deaths reported in one day on April 26, with 55 deaths. That number will start to decline after that.

By the beginning of August, Arizona is projected to have nearly 1,600 deaths caused by the coronavirus.

These projections are made assuming there are strong social distancing and other protective measures in place.

On Monday, Gov. Doug Ducey’s “stay at home” order went into effect in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. It mandates all residents stay home except when they need to acquire essential services.

The order was implemented a day after Ducey and Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman announced the state’s public schools will remain closed until the end of the school year.

Flaxman said closing schools “was a good move” and was done early.

“It’s very early on to know what’s going to happen, and we’ll be updating our estimates regularly as additional data comes in,” he added.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

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