Valley hospitals monitor rise in COVID-19, flu cases amidst low hospital bed availability

Posted at 4:44 PM, Dec 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-10 20:19:38-05

PHOENIX — Climbing COVID-19 and flu cases are prompting a leading Arizona health system to pause elective surgeries, as some state hospitals run low on patient beds.

It’s a balancing act. Rising COVID-19 cases are hitting nearly 4,000 in one day with less than 90 ICU beds available statewide.

Dr. Tiffany Pankow, HonorHealth’s Associate Chief Medical Director of Primary Care, says, “We're definitely seeing high numbers of COVID cases, both in our emergency rooms, as well as inpatient in our hospitals. Those cases are continuing to go up in the last several weeks.”

Then factor in the flu season. Dr. Randy Odero, an Infectious Disease Specialist with Abrazo Health Hospitals, admits, “With a busier flu season already, and with COVID numbers going up, there is a chance that you know that those numbers could get really high and make it very difficult for people to get appropriate care in the hospitals.”

Doctors in the Valley are monitoring it all.

In fact, HonorHealth tells ABC15, "Campuses are not adding additional surgeries to the schedule for the remainder of the year."

Other hospitals are monitoring the status case by case.

Dr. Odero says, “The recipe viruses that are out there, COVID, flu, RSV, and the other viruses, and my concern is that this could spread within the community. Particularly this time of year when people want to gather with their families and celebrate.”

If you have symptoms of COVID or the flu, which are similar, doctors recommend going to an urgent care so hospitals aren’t overwhelmed.