Officials say Arizona hospitals have enough capacity for COVID-19 patients

Jun 11, 2020, 2:53 PM | Updated: 3:12 pm
(KTAR News Photo/Peter Samore)...
(KTAR News Photo/Peter Samore)
(KTAR News Photo/Peter Samore)

PHOENIX — Officials said Thursday that Arizona hospitals have enough capacity for coronavirus patients as positive cases and hospitalizations rise in the state.

State hospital leaders in a statement reaffirmed their availability for COVID-19 patients, a sentiment Gov. Doug Ducey echoed later Thursday in a press conference.

A report released Wednesday by the Arizona Department of Health Services showed statewide bed capacity at 83%.

“We would like to assure the public that we have the available bed capacity and surge lines are in place to continue to serve the people of Arizona,” Ducey said. “We are well prepared to manage an increased inpatient volume.”

Banner Health, included in the statement, on Monday expressed concern regarding the recent increase in coronavirus cases.

Banner said that the number of their COVID-19 patients requiring a ventilator had quadrupled since May 15.

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

The letter contained many of the same recommendations outlined in a previous letter the department sent to hospitals in March.

It also advised facilities experiencing staffing shortages or inadequate bed capacity to stop conducting elective surgeries, which were prohibited under Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order from March 21 to May 1.

“It’s important that people know we are not seeing an increase inpatient volume,” Ducey said. “We are prepared if that increase should come, the facts are we’ve got an increase in testing, an increase in cases and an increase in positive test results.

“So we are going to continue to stay laser focused on COVID-19 in the state of Arizona.”

Arizona added 1,412 new coronavirus cases and 32 additional deaths Thursday morning.

About 27% of Maricopa County’s cases — or about 4,500 — were reported in the last seven days.

“The increase in positive tests is not the direction we want to go,” Ducey said. “We want to go in the other direction.”

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Officials say Arizona hospitals have enough capacity for COVID-19 patients