Arizona hospitals could run out of beds by July because of COVID-19, public health expert says

Arizona could run out of hospital beds in just a few weeks as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge, a public health expert told NBC affiliate 12News.

"If we continue for the next several weeks like we have the past few, it's very possible that we'll run out of capacity in our hospitals and ICUs sometime in early July," said Joe Gerald, MD, PhD, program director for public health policy and management at Tucson-based University of Arizona.

Since Arizona's stay-at-home order expired May 15, positive COVID-19 cases have increased 110 percent. The state reported more than 700 cases daily between May 26-29, the largest single-day increases seen since the pandemic started. On June 6, Cara Christ, MD, Arizona Department of Health Services director, sent a letter to hospitals urging them to "fully activate" emergency plans, according to AZ Central.

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey said last week that cases were climbing because the state was conducting more testing, though Dr. Gerald said the pace of the virus' spread is accelerating.

Statewide, 8 of every 10 hospital beds are currently in use, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. About 1 in 4 beds are being used by COVID-19 patients; in the ICUs, about 1 in 3.

"I'm imploring everybody to take action now" to avoid capacity issues, a spokesperson for Phoenix-based Banner Health told reporters, according to 12News. "We want to avoid anybody having to have their necessary surgery be delayed because we've exceeded hospital capacity."

More articles on patient flow:
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More articles on patient flow:
New York hospital closes emergency department
Northwell opens ventilator recovery units at 2 hospitals
LA Surge Hospital to close in June
 

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