An increase in COVID-19 cases is already having an influence on patients. Currently, 26 percent of Arizona ICU beds are being occupied by COVID-19 patients, and that number is rising.
"Our number of COVID patients in the hospital have doubled in the last week," said Valleywise Health Medical Center ER Physician Frank Lovecchio. "I don’t know if there’s any treatment that actually saves someone’s life except for what we call supportive care."
The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 4,123 positive COVID cases on Thursday, the fifth-largest daily number reported.
Lovecchio said the increase in cases is already affecting how long patients are held at his hospital. Some patients are being sent home early to reserve space for a possible influx of COVID-19 patients.
In Northern Arizona, hospital staffing is one of the major concerns for healthcare professionals. "We partner with some firms to get travel nurses, et cetera, and the firm we work with currently has 20,000 open nursing requests across the country," said Josh Tinke, Chief Administrative Officer at Flagstaff Medical Center. "The surge is coming again.”
On Wednesday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said he is allocating $25 million to hospital staffing ahead of what is projected to be another spike in COVID-19 cases.
The last time the daily cases were this high, in June, Governor Ducey responded by shutting down gyms, movie theatres and bars for the second time.