ARIZONA NEWS

Banner Health warns its Arizona hospitals are stretched thin

Dec 15, 2021, 4:45 AM
(File photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)...
(File photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(File photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

PHOENIX –The state’s largest hospital system is running out of beds to care for patients and warned Tuesday it may need to start choosing who can receive care if hospitalization trends continue.

“We are more stretched now than we have been since the start of the pandemic,” Dr. Marjorie Bessel, chief clinical officer for Banner Health, said in a virtual news conference with reporters.

On Tuesday, Banner Health hospitals in Arizona were operating at 97% of their staffed bed capacity, and five of the 18 Banner hospitals in Arizona were operating at more than 100% capacity.

“ICUs are where we are experiencing the most significant strain on our resources,” Bessel said. “Currently, COVID patients account for 36% of our ICU patients – 88% of those COVID ICU patients are unvaccinated.”

She added half of Banner Health patients on ventilators are COVID positive. They’re also seeing a high volume of patients who delayed care in the past and are needing to be hospitalized now.

Statewide, the number of unused hospital beds reached pandemic-low levels in the past week, when remaining capacity was as low as 4% each for inpatient and ICU beds.

While COVID hospitalizations remain near delta wave high points, available space had crept up to 7% of capacity for inpatient beds and 5% of capacity for ICUs by Monday.

Because of current patient volumes, Banner Health has had to make some changes to free up hospital beds. That includes postponing surgeries that require ICU-level care and delaying non-urgent appointments at primary care clinics.

“Banner’s predictive modeling tools show no signs of letting up,” Bessel said. “We expect that volumes will continue to increase throughout December and into the beginning of next year before peaking around the middle of January.”

She noted Banner Health’s forecast does not account for the omicron variant of COVID-19, which has already been found in Arizona.

The first six cases of the omicron variant were detected in Maricopa County this week. Another case was confirmed in Yavapai County last week.

“My top ask of the community at this time is for all who are eligible to get vaccinated and receive your boosters if you have not yet done so,” Bessel said. “This is the best way to prevent serious COVID illness that requires hospital-level care.”

She also pleaded to the public to only go to the emergency room for life-threatening health issues.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

(Photo by Jeff Topping/Getty Images)...
Danny Shapiro

Storms on Friday, Saturday could bring flooding, over 2 inches of rain to most of metro Phoenix

A meteorologist says the strongest storm system of the monsoon season will hit metro Phoenix over the next couple of days.
13 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/City of Mesa)...
KTAR.com

ASU film, digital media school opens in downtown Mesa

And ... action! Students in film, video production and digital technology will begin fall classes Thursday at the new Arizona State University campus in downtown Mesa.
13 hours ago
Member of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce participate in a regional salon dinner in ...
Kevin Stone

Hispanic chamber holding national conference in Phoenix this fall, with preview event Thursday

The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will hold its 2022 national conference in Phoenix this fall, with a kick-off reception set for Thursday night.
13 hours ago
(AP Photo, File/Nati Harnik)...
Associated Press

Arizona judges reject challenges to 2 voter initiatives for November ballot

Judges rejected challenges to two Arizona voter initiative on Wednesday, siding with proponents of a measure limiting so-called predatory debt collection and for one that would require people who fund political campaigns through nonprofit groups to be identified.
13 hours ago
Colleen Nussnaumer (Photo via Peoria Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Missing West Valley woman found safe, Silver Alert canceled

A Silver Alert for a missing West Valley woman was canceled Thursday after she was found safe, authorities said.
13 hours ago
Gary Moddrell (Photo via Peoria Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Silver Alert issued for Peoria man with memory problems

A Silver Alert was issued for a Peoria man who has been missing since Tuesday, authorities said.
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Banner Health warns its Arizona hospitals are stretched thin