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Arizona bringing 600 nurses from out of state to help hospitals with surge

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Help is on the way for hospitals in Arizona that are straining under the burden of increasing coronavirus patients.

The Arizona Department of Health Services announced a partnership with Vizient, Inc., on Wednesday to bring in nearly 600 out-of-state nurses to work at hospitals as they expand capacity under surge plans.

Vizient is a Texas-based company that helps health care organizations across the U.S. improve their performance.

The state said it will provide hospitals in compliance with all of Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive orders with extra staffing at no charge for up to six weeks.

“Our frontline healthcare workers and hospital staff have worked tirelessly to care for Arizonans and we are so appreciative of their efforts,” Health Director Dr. Cara Christ said in a press release.

“We’ve prioritized providing these staffing resources to fill critical resource gaps in hospitals and ensure they can continue to provide excellent care across the state.”

The incoming critical care and medical-surgical nurses will be deployed via the Arizona Surge Line, which was established during the pandemic to help divert patients from hospitals without room to locations with space.

Federal partners have sent Arizona nearly 100 National Disaster Medical System personnel for two-week deployments over the last month, the release said.

On June 25, Banner Health, the state’s largest hospital network, said it contracted for more than 200 additional nurses to help deal with the rise in COVID-19 patients.

The number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients in Arizona’s hospitals reached a record level on Monday but dipped by 24 overnight to 3,493 on Tuesday, according to the state health department.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds also declined overnight from a record high, falling from 970 on Monday to 929 on Tuesday.

According to hospital data for Tuesday, 51.2% of all Arizona inpatients and 61% of the state’s ICU patients are confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.

Overall, the latest data showed Arizona’s inpatient beds as 87% full and ICU beds as 90% full, both just below the highest levels seen during the pandemic.

The state reported a record 97 new coronavirus deaths and 3,257 more cases Wednesday, bringing the totals to 131,354 cases and 2,434 fatalities.

The state reported 117 deaths on July 7, but that total included 52 confirmed through death certificate matching. There was no indication that Wednesday’s report had any death certificate matching.

The previous high death report for a day that didn’t include death certificate matching was 88 on July 1.

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

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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