17-person military medical unit going to Yuma as hospitals deal with COVID surge

Posted at 7:15 PM, Dec 27, 2021

YUMA, AZ — The Arizona Department of Health Services confirmed Monday that a 17-person military team will be heading to Yuma Regional Medical Center soon to assist with a surge in COVID hospitalizations.

Although the team doesn’t have an exact timetable yet, DHS confirmed 14 members of the team will be clinical staff, including nurses and doctors.

This comes as hospitals across the state are experiencing their own surges.

Dignity Health in Arizona confirmed its emergency department wait times have become longer, although exact times vary day to day.

Banner Health, which cares for about half of the COVID patients in the state, also confirmed its hospitals are “very busy” with both COVID and non-COVID patients, according to a spokesperson.

Arizona Public Health Association Director Will Humble told ABC15 in rural areas like Yuma, it’s even worse.

“Those rural hospitals are not part of large chains, like Banner, where they can, you know, move patients around from hospital to hospital,” Humble said. “The next six weeks are a very, very bad time to get sick or hurt in Arizona.”

To take some stress of emergency departments, Humble suggested to consider other options if your situation is not immediately life-threatening.

“The first line is to really talk to your primary care doc, if you can, and if you can’t, go into an urgent care because you can get really good service with really not much of a wait time,” Humble said.

Banner Health gives some warning signs online, that mean you should go to the ER or call 911 immediately, including:

· Difficulty breathing
· Shortness of breath
· Chest or upper abdominal pain or pressure
· Fainting, sudden dizziness, weakness
· Changes in vision
· Confusion or changes in mental status
· Any sudden or severe pain
· Uncontrolled bleeding
· Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
· Coughing up or vomiting blood
· Suicidal feelings
· Difficulty speaking