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Banner Health hires more staff in preparation of coronavirus surge

(Banner Health Photo)

PHOENIX — Banner Health said Tuesday it is hiring more staff in preparation for an uptick in both COVID-19 and flu cases expected in the coming months.

The health provider usually hires an additional 1,000 nurses during the winter flu season, but expects to double that number in response to an expected second coronavirus surge.

Banner said they’ve also been training 900 team members from other units in the skills necessary to care for intensive care unit patients should the ICU team become overwhelmed.

“These upskilled workers support the existing ICU team, allowing us to safely use our experienced critical care nurses to cover more patients while still providing safe and appropriate care,” Banner Health said in a press release.

Arizona health authorities reported 3,434 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the most in a day since July 25, with 28 additional deaths.

This brought the state’s documented totals to 263,133 COVID-19 infections and 6,192 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The health care provider said their drive-thru testing center at the Arizona State Fairgrounds saw an increase of 46% in people seeking tests last week. Banner currently has capacity to perform 3,600 tests per week and is prepared to scale up with increased demand.

According to the release, Banner Health hospitals are adequately stocked with supplies and medications for combatting coronavirus and also currently have enough bed capacity to care for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospital inpatients increased to 1,289 on Monday, the most since Aug. 13.

As researchers get closer to developing a vaccine, Banner says it has been meeting with local health officials to determine a plan for distributing the vaccine when it is made available.

Health authorities are reminding Arizonans to wear a mask, wash their hands frequently and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people to control the spread of the virus.

For Arizona vaccine information, visit azdhs.gov/findvaccine.

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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