Valley hospital experiencing strain one year after COVID-19 vaccine

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Posted at 4:00 PM, Dec 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-13 19:09:10-05

PHOENIX — It’s a step back in time for Arizona hospitals as we continue into the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our state's hospitals are reporting bed availability the same as it was a year ago.

Monday, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported no new deaths from COVID-19. However, Arizona reached another milestone this weekend: 23,000 Arizonans have now died from the virus.

For the first time in 13 days, Arizona reported less than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases with 2,391.

While the data seems encouraging, Dr. Natasha Bhuyan, family physician and regional medical director at One Medical says, “just because we see a one-day dip in cases, it does not mean that cases are stabilizing.”

Only 75 adult ICU beds are available across the state as of Monday. That means if you get in a severe accident, finding a bed could be difficult.

“What's happening in our hospital systems right now is concerning. Our hospital systems are highly utilized. Our ICU capacity is low, and the majority of people who are hospitalized, are unvaccinated,” Dr. Bhuyan says.

It’s a major step back for our state’s hospitals.

Valleywise Health says all 47 of its dedicated COVID-19 beds were full this morning. Dr. Michael White, Valleywise Health’s Chief Clinical Officer says 95.6% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at Valleywise are not vaccinated.

“We’re seeing the same volume of COVID-19 disease positive patients today as we were at this exact same time last year. And that's despite [what] we have readily available now, something that helps us prevent hospitalizations and severe ailments. And that's with [the] vaccine,” says Dr. White.