ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona hospitals urged to activate emergency protocols amid virus surge

Jun 9, 2020, 4:35 AM | Updated: 12:43 pm
(Getty Images/ Hannah McKay)...
(Getty Images/ Hannah McKay)
(Getty Images/ Hannah McKay)

PHOENIX — In the midst of a surge in coronavirus cases across the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services has urged hospitals to activate their emergency protocols.

In a letter sent to hospitals on Saturday, AZDHS Director Dr. Cara Christ recommended hospitals “fully activate” their emergency plans — roughly three weeks after the statewide stay-at-home order expired.

“In recent days, we’ve seen some hospitals come out with concerns related to a surge in patients,” AZDHS Assistant Director Jessica Rigler told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

“So we wanted to make sure that we provided some additional guidance to those facilities about steps that they could be taking and remind them of some of the requirements that were … recommended in the previous letter.”

The guidelines issued Saturday by AZDHS contained many of the same recommendations outlined in a previous letter the department sent to hospitals in March, such as: the activation of facility emergency protocols, enacting triage treatment processes to prevent burdening emergency rooms and maintaining strong communication with nearby health care centers.

Banner Health on Monday expressed concern regarding the recent increase in coronavirus cases and stated that the number of their COVID-19 patients requiring a ventilator had quadrupled since May 15.

In Saturday’s letter, Christ also cited an expired order from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey — Executive Order 2020-10 — before urging facilities currently experiencing staffing shortages or inadequate bed capacity to stop conducting elective surgeries.

Ducey prohibited elective surgeries via the since-expired order — which took effect March 21 — with the intention of preserving personal protective equipment for hospitals.

He then permitted hospitals to resume elective surgeries beginning May 1 if facilities could meet certain requirements including enhanced sanitation practices, a 14-day supply of PPE and adequate screenings of patients and staff.

During a press conference on Thursday, Ducey said he believes his office and public health officials have chosen the best course of action in handling the virus outbreak.

Christ also said during the same press conference that the increase in confirmed cases was likely due to additional testing.

“It’s not unexpected especially as we are targeting more of those vulnerable higher areas and higher numbers of long-term care, higher numbers of correctional officers and prisons, so we are going to see changing numbers and we expect that,” she said.

Monday morning, AZDHS reported 789 new coronavirus cases and 3 additional deaths.

On Sunday, the number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients in Arizona hospitals remained in excess of 1,200 for the fourth consecutive day.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nailea Leon contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Barry Markson (Twitter photo/BarryMarkson1)...
Mike O'Neil/The Think Tank

Think Tank talks with practicing attorney and KTAR host Barry Markson

Practicing attorney and sometimes KTAR News 92.3 FM host Barry Markson joins this week's Think Tank to discuss his take on Biden’s recent speech and other topics.
16 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Wills Rice

Storm brings rain, strong wind gusts to metro Phoenix Saturday night

A storm rolled through metro Phoenix Saturday night, bringing rain and wind across the Valley.
16 hours ago
A Valley Metro Rail train drives through downtown on March 26, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. Despite fe...
KTAR.com

Phoenix receives $920K for 5-mile streetcar route development in Mesa

The city of Mesa on Friday received a $920,000 grant to manage the planning of a 5-mile streetcar route that would connect four activity centers within the municipality.
16 hours ago
(Phoenix Police Department Photo)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix police seek public’s help in identifying suspects who shot 2 teens in December

The Phoenix Police Department is seeking the public's assistance in identifying three suspects who shot two 15-year-old teens in December.
16 hours ago
(Grand Canyon Railway Photo)...
KTAR.com

Steam locomotives to pull Grand Canyon Railway trains 11 times this year

The Grand Canyon Railway announced 11 dates for 2022 when vintage steam locomotives will lead the way to and from Arizona's top tourist attraction.
16 hours ago
Arizona State Courts Building (Arizona Governor's Office Photo)...
Associated Press

Arizona Senate’s privilege argument rejected by appeals court

A state appeals court says legislative privilege does not broadly protect the Arizona Senate from having to release hundreds of public records related to the review of the 2020 election.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Arizona State University

This is the best year to get your MBA

Getting a master’s degree is a major commitment of time, energy, and money, so returning to school — even if you’re thinking about a part-time program that allows you to keep working — is one of the biggest decisions of your career.
...
ENVOQUE MD

Thyroid issues: Here are the warning signs and what to do

In a 100-person office in the United States, an estimated 12 co-workers, employees and loved ones, will likely develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. That’s because, according to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12% of the U.S. population will experience thyroid issues.
...
Canvas Annuity

Annuity basics: how to retire with a guaranteed paycheck for life

Does the thought of retirement fill you with stress or with happiness? Everyone wants to spend their retirement in a way that brings them the most joy, whether that’s traveling the world or spending extra time at home with grandkids.
Arizona hospitals urged to activate emergency protocols amid virus surge