Respiratory illness patients filling up Arizona emergency rooms

Dec 22, 2022, 4:25 AM | Updated: 10:02 am
(Pixabay Photo)...
(Pixabay Photo)
(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona health officials are warning about long wait times at emergency rooms as respiratory illnesses run rampant across the state.

“We’re seeing emergency department volumes that are approximately 30% higher than we have in previous periods,” Dr. Michael White, chief clinical officer for Valleywise Health, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday.

The Arizona Local Health Officers Association issued a warning earlier this week about how a record-breaking flu season is affecting health care facilities.

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported more than 5,000 cases of influenza for the week of Dec. 4, over 10 times higher than typical for this time of year.

Patients also are seeking care at high rates for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19.

While emergency departments have been busy, there hasn’t been a corresponding impact on hospital capacity, White said.

To ease the load on emergency rooms, health officials suggest that patients without severe symptoms should first contact their primary care providers.

“They often can provide a lot of recommendations on how to treat this or be able to see you in the office,” White said.

White said anybody who feels sick should stay home and isolate if possible, and consider wearing a face mask if they have to go out.

He also said it’s not too late to get a flu shot or a bivalent COVID-19 booster. There’s no vaccine for RSV, however.

With the holiday season here, White said he expects things to get worse before they get better.

“Typically after large gatherings and gathering times, we have seen an increase in those folks that need to be treated for these types of conditions,” he said.

“So, I do anticipate this will likely increase over the next few weeks as we traverse through the holidays.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

(Pixabay Photo)...

Missing Arizona girl rescued from basement of sex offender in Utah

A missing Arizona girl was rescued from the basement of a Utah sex offender earlier this week, authorities said Friday.
17 hours ago
Diego Garcia (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)...

Phoenix man accused of killing girlfriend’s 18-month-old child

A Phoenix man was arrested Thursday for allegedly causing the death of his girlfriend's young child, authorities said.
17 hours ago
(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)...

Arizona municipal league opposes bills to ban local grocery, rent taxes

The director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns said state lawmakers are taking the wrong route trying to pull the plug on food and rent taxes.
17 hours ago
(KTAR News Photo)...
Danny Shapiro

Arizona AG Mayes warns that she will prosecute individuals who threaten election workers

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes issued a warning Friday to anyone considering threatening election workers in the state.
17 hours ago
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...
Taylor Kinnerup

Arizona’s News Roundup Special: All the Super Bowl events happening in metro Phoenix

In this special edition podcast, KTAR News walks you through all the upcoming events for Super Bowl LVII in Glendale.
17 hours ago
(Angry Crab Shack Southwest Cajun Fest Photo)...

Get your gumbo on at Angry Crab Shack Southwest Cajun Fest in Chandler

Chandler is bringing a bit of New Orleans to the weekend with the Angry Crab Southwest Cajun Fest.
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Respiratory illness patients filling up Arizona emergency rooms