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How is Arizona’s healthcare infrastructure handling the COVID-19 pandemic?

Posted at 6:32 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 21:32:24-04

PHOENIX — How is Arizona’s healthcare infrastructure handling the COVID-19 pandemic?

One of the primary reasons that Governor Doug Ducey’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe," Arizona’s functional stay-at-home order that is set to expire tomorrow was to slow down and manage what modelers projected was a surge of COVID-19 patients overwhelming hospital resources if the spread of the virus remained unchecked.

In Early April, Ducey signed an executive order requiring hospitals and county health departments to report hospital resources that were being utilized for COVID-19 patients. The Arizona Department of Health Services made much of this reporting publicly available on its COVID-19 dashboard that is updated daily. It gives daily updates on the occupancy of general use, emergency, and intensive care hospital beds, notating on a separate graphic how many COVID-19 patients each type of bed has. Here is the latest data we have on hospital capacity in Arizona, and how COVID-19 patients are impacting those resources.

The charts below break out the hospital resources by bed type, how many beds are being used on a given day, and how many beds are being used by COVID-19 patients.

General Use Inpatient Beds

The state health department reports that Arizona has around 10,200 total inpatient beds in its various hospital systems. The department reports a large jump in capacity on April 20th, which is due more to more reporting rather than increased capacity. Today marks the highest percent of occupied inpatient beds at 80.8%. COVID-19 patients only make up about 7.7% of all inpatient beds according to state health department reports. This is only the 5th highest of all reported days with April 19th marking the day with the most COVID-19 inpatient hospitalizations. The average daily occupancy rate of inpatient beds since the state health officials began reporting this number is 72.8%

Emergency Room Beds

Like inpatient beds, today marks a high point in emergency room beds used by COVID-19 patients at 24% of all available emergency beds. However, only 33% of emergency room beds are occupied, falling in line with the daily average occupancy rate since late March. This is the only bed type in which COVID-19 patients are reported to be taking up most utilized resources.

Intensive Care Beds

As indicated by outbreaks in other parts of the world, ICU beds are one of the most essential resources to managing the death toll of COVID-19. As of today, 80.1% of Arizona’s ICU beds are occupied, the most since reporting began in late March which is significantly higher than the average daily occupancy rate during that time frame of 72.7%. ICU patients make up a relatively small number of occupied beds at 14.2%, however this is also the highest number of ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients since reporting began.