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Gov. Ducey optimistic on health care preparedness to fight COVID-19

(Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP)

PHOENIX — During the Arizona COVID-19 town hall on Thursday evening, Governor Doug Ducey and Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ shed an optimistic light on the state’s health care preparedness to provide care during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Today we have 1,500 ventilators, we have an order in for 5,000 more,” Ducey said.

Based on numbers provided by AZDHS, Christ said Arizona should have enough ventilators if it is able to procure them from the federal government.

During a Monday press conference lead by Ducey, Christ said that $10 million from the Public Health Emergency Fund would be used in an attempt to increase the state’s count of ventilators, which was about 1,000 at the time, and that other options were being researched.

“We continue to survey anesthesiology devices used in outpatient procedures that may also be converted into ventilators that could treat those with COVID-19,” Christ said.

Ducey, meanwhile, stated on Thursday the state is equipped with enough hospital beds based on the forecast.

He added two additional field hospitals in Maricopa County and one additional field hospital in Pima County are being planned for use, if necessary.

A recent 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.

Ducey and Christ added the needs of both ventilators and hospital beds are being addressed as the outbreak continues.

Officials on Thursday morning reported the state was up to 1,598 coronavirus cases, an increase of 185 from the previous morning.

Christ said the state has tested more than 23,000 people.

“My team and I have been focused on increasing the testing capacity across the state,” Christ added. “I want as much data as I can get.”

Ducey mentioned a need to ramp up testing, along with prioritizing testing healthcare professionals.

“We have to make sure the people on the front line that are going to take care of the folks that contract this disease don’t have it themselves.”

Ducey didn’t want to make any predictions on Thursday night how long the virus will last and said anyone that is saying they know is guessing.

“What I do know is what our plan is for April and May. I’m looking 60 days out,” Ducey said.

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

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