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Banner adding more nurses as Ducey says Arizona nearing surge capacity

(Getty Images/Raul Sifuentes)

PHOENIX — The same day Banner Health announced it was deploying more than 200 additional nurses to combat a statewide spike in coronavirus cases, Gov. Doug Ducey said Arizona’s hospitals were on the verge of reaching surge capacity.

“Our cases are increasing,” Ducey said during a press conference on Thursday.

“Our hospitals are seeing additional stress and they are likely to hit surge capacity very soon.”

Earlier on Thursday, Banner Health said it had brought in the additional nurses via contractor as part of its strategy to avoid exceeding surge capacity at its hospitals, according to a press release.

To ease the stress and patient influx at Arizona hospitals, Ducey urged Arizonans on Thursday to utilize more caution and stay home whenever possible.

Wednesday marked the 10th consecutive day the number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients checked into Arizona’s hospitals, jumping overnight to 2,453 from 2,270. That statistic has increased by 47% in the past week and more than 100% since June 8, according to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Wednesday was also the second consecutive day in which overall ICU bed usage remained at a pandemic-high of 88%.

“We are absolutely experiencing a surge of COVID-19 patients that are coming in for care, and we are starting to get full,” Banner Health Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Marjorie Bessel stated in the release.

“We do have plans, however, to continue to increase our capacity so that we can meet the demand of the communities and all the people that we serve.”

Banner health is also working with Sonora Quest Labs and AZDHS to test Arizonans for COVID-19.

Their testing capacity is currently limited to about 1,000 patients per day.

The health care provider has also encouraged all residents to wear face coverings when in public and to stay home if feeling ill.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed an executive order in March which halted elective surgery procedures on March 21.

In April, Ducey announced the return of elective surgeries on May 1 only in facilities that had at least 20% of their beds available.

Thursday morning, Arizona reported an additional 3,056 coronavirus cases and 27 more deaths, bringing state totals to 63,030 and 1,490, respectively.

On Tuesday, Arizona reported a single-day high of 3,591 new COVID-19 cases.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit

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