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Valley doctor believes a stay-at-home order might be the only way to stop surge in COVID cases

Posted at 6:35 PM, Jun 29, 2020

Another weekend in Arizona, once again filled with images attracting national attention for the wrong reason.

The Salt River packed with people, the same at a Scottsdale hotel pool.

"I just think that sort of behavior is irresponsible, inconsiderate, and not respectful," said Dr. Andrew Carroll regarding the lack of social distancing and masks in the images.

Dr. Carroll is a board member for the American Academy of Family Physicians. In a matter of weeks, he'll be one of dozens of providers heading into local hospitals to assist with the patient overload happening as we speak.

"I think we opened much too quickly," said Dr. Carroll.

As hospitals expand capacity to keep up with coronavirus cases, they soon may turn to something called Crisis Care Standards.

"Crisis Care Standards are like battlefield medicine, if you're in the middle of a battle and people are hurt and just scattered in front of you, it's a way of deciding which ones you try and save and which ones you don't try and save even though all of them are still alive," said Dr. Carroll.

Hard decisions as beds, staffing, and emergency medical equipment are pushed to the brink. In this case, it's left to math.

"Part of that score is whether or not they believe that you would live life as long as a year afterwards and as long as five years afterward, they're gonna compile that into a score and decide whether or not you get a ventilator," said Dr. Carroll who added all hospitals would be operating under this standard of care if implemented.

Those numbers are calculated outside the hospital systems to eliminate bias. There's now an effort underway to keep us from reaching that point or if we do, reduce caseloads and restore normal care standards as quickly as possible. That brings us to the latest petition. It was delivered to Governor Doug Ducey Monday and signed by more than 1,100 medical providers. It asks for seven things:

  1. Re-enact the shelter-in-place order AND enforce it
  2. Close bars and nightclubs
  3. Limit restaurants to take-out only and require transparency regarding employees testing
  4. Mandate masks statewide and communicate concrete consequences for those refusing to wear masks in public
  5. Increase testing capacity
  6. Expand contact tracing
  7. Enforce quarantine for those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

How the governor pivots in this critical moment and how the community responds may write our final chapter.

"Some people believe that if it doesn't touch them personally that it really doesn't mean much if we keep this up, it's going to touch each one of us personally," said Dr. Carroll.