ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona hospitals getting fuller as COVID-19 patients getting younger

Jun 17, 2020, 4:25 AM | Updated: 8:53 am

(AP Photo/Moises Castillo)...

(AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

(AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

PHOENIX – An Arizona emergency medicine doctor has seen a domino effect happening in the state as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

“COVID units are getting so filled up that a lot of patients — even ones there for other conditions — are getting backed up in emergency departments,” said Dr. Murtaza Akhter, a clinical assistant professor in emergency medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine–Phoenix.

He also says younger patients might think they’re immune to COVID-19 and not protect themselves.

“There’s a heavy, heavy caseload of respiratory cases — cough, fever, body aches, trouble breathing, and that’s concerning because a lot of them do end up having COVID,” Akhter said.

“I see plenty of young people come into the ER, and my initial thought when I look at their chart is, ‘Why is someone this age in the emergency department?’ And I talk to the patient and I say, ‘This does look pretty bad.'”

Still, the elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions are most at risk.

Akhter says it’s too early to tell if the spike in cases will wreck Arizona’s hospital system.

“It’s possible, like in New York City, where they were on the edge and somehow didn’t teeter and fall of it, and managed,” he said. “It’s possible that we will manage and be OK.

“And maybe we will have enough beds, supplies and ventilators.”

Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona hospital networks insist we do, bearing in mind they’re supposed to freeze elective surgeries again — by executive order — because hospitals are at least 80-percent full.

So, social distancing, good hygiene and staying at home when sick become all the more critical.

“I don’t know of any single governor or mayor who has said that social distancing isn’t important anymore, even as they are taking away stay-at-home orders,” Akhter said.

“When I hear about people being in situations where there are maybe a hundred people gathering together at a party or at a club, or going to a barbecue dinner, or even a wedding, it’s just appalling.”

Just like Ducey and other leaders and experts, Akhter is not surprised Arizona’s coronavirus cases are soaring.

“You see what happens when people go lax,” he said. “I think it’s going to surge quite a bit higher based on what I’m seeing, and as the numbers over the next week, we’re going to see even worse numbers, which is unfortunate.”

That is, unless we get another “stay at home” order to stop COVID-19’s spread, which Ducey wants to avoid.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

A suspect who accidentally shot and killed a fellow IRS agent at a federal gun range in Phoenix was...

Danny Shapiro

Suspect indicted on manslaughter charge in death of fellow IRS agent in Phoenix

A suspect who accidentally shot and killed a fellow IRS agent at a federal gun range in Phoenix was indicted on a manslaughter charge, authorities announced Friday.

39 minutes ago

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

2 hours ago

A sign in front of a building identifies Valleywise Behavioral Health Center – Maryvale in Phoeni...

Kevin Stone

Valleywise Health replenishing mental health care capacity after staffing setback

Valleywise Health is working to replenish its mental health care capacity after cutting back because of staffing shortages in 2022.

3 hours ago

Split image of a Spin e-scooter on the left and the boundary map for Phoenix's Shared Micromobility...

Kevin Stone

Phoenix pilot program allows e-scooter, e-bike and bicycle rentals 24 hours a day

Phoenix is expanding its Shared Micromobility Program on a trial basis, allowing e-bike, e-scooter and bicycle riders to rent and roll all night.

4 hours ago

File photo of a Phoenix police cruiser at a crime scene behind yellow tape...

KTAR.com

Driver of vehicle leaving scene of shooting dies after fiery collision in Phoenix

The driver of a car speeding away from the scene of a shooting in west Phoenix died after a fiery collision Thursday afternoon.

4 hours ago

Former Arizona State Sen. Tony Navarette was convicted of one count of sexual conduct with a minor ...

ABC15 Arizona

Former Arizona Sen. Tony Navarette convicted of sexual conduct with a minor

Former Arizona State Sen. Tony Navarette has been convicted of one count of sexual conduct with a minor.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Arizona hospitals getting fuller as COVID-19 patients getting younger