PHOENIX — Arizona on Friday reported over 5,000 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases as virus-related hospitalizations continued to rise.
The 5,236 additional cases and 14 deaths reported Friday by the state raised Arizona's pandemic totals to over 1,282,000 cases and nearly 22,400 deaths.
Today’s #COVID19 dashboard update adds 5,236 cases and 14 deaths. If the provider nearest you has a longer wait for appointments than you want for a COVID-19 booster dose, check https://t.co/q2kfD0sU6i for appointments a little farther away. More: https://t.co/KKb34qqGGR pic.twitter.com/v6ZmPwdNFm— AZ Dept of Health (@AZDHS) December 3, 2021
Valleywise Health ER Dr. Frank LoVecchio stresses the best way to prevent the spike and spread of COVID-19 is for everyone to get vaccinated.
"When I walked in, there were 55 people waiting," LoVecchio said.
According to the state health department, Thursday there were 1,954 positive to suspected positive COVID-19 patients in emergency rooms across the state, with little to no space available to treat them.
"Beds are extremely tight," LoVecchio said.
According ADHS, as of Friday, there are only 108 ICU beds available in the entire state and that's just a part of the strain on the healthcare system.
"If you said to me that beds are available, I would say, 'Is there a nurse and a nurse's assistant and med techs available to provide care there?' That's what we're starting to run into," LoVecchio said.
Patients forced to wait in the ER for days, according to LoVecchio.
"We admitted a patient, waiting over three days, and I know when I left they were still waiting."
Many emergency rooms are under ambulance diversion protocols.
Elective surgeries at some hospitals are being bumped down to a case-by-case basis.
LoVecchio says doctors and nurses are working to exhaustion.
"People are extremely burnt."
LoVecchio says the majority of patients are unvaccinated and with wait times so long, some of them are just giving up.
"We see more and more people leave without waiting. We call that 'Left without being seen,' and it's unfortunate," he said.