The Health Director for the state of Arizona tells hospitals to fully activate their emergency plans in response to surge in COVID cases.

 

Banner Health is Arizona’s most extensive hospital system.  They are also Arizona’s largest private employer.  In response to the COVID crisis, the company already furloughed approximately 3,oo0 employees, decreased executive’s salaries by 20 percent and created a one-time bonus pay for employees who provided direct care of COVID-19 patients during March, April, and May.

A statement released by the company yesterday informed the public they had reached capacity for ECMO treatments and was nearing capacity for their ICU beds.

Our ICUs are very busy caring for the sickest of the sick who are battling COVID-19. Since May 15, ventilated COVID-19 patients have quadrupled. Banner Health also recently reached capacity for patients receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment. (2/3)

— Banner Health (@BannerHealth) June 8, 2020

The rate of new infections in Arizona has been climbing.  On Thursday, Governor Doug Ducey explained the number of new infections was related to increased testing.  He added the state was not in a crisis, as “field hospitals are available if regular hospitals run out of space.”  However, Cara Christ, the state’s health official, advised hospitals yesterday to fully activate their emergency services.  Arizona dissolved the stay at home order and, Governor Doug Ducey guided reopening on May 1 for businesses to open on May 4.  The Governor allowed sporting activities to resume on May 15 and racing on May 23 at 25% capacity.  Doctors in Arizona are not surprised about the spike of new cases in the state.

Arizona is home to many retirees, and approximately 17% of the residents are age 65 or older.  The number of COVD related deaths recently passed 1,000.  Arizona is a hot, dry state prompting the department of health to tweet about heat-related health concerns three times in June.  The hypothesis of decreased infections during warm weather suggested by some health care professionals, including CDC Director Robert Redfield, has been proven wrong. Many specialists believed warm weather was not going to decrease the rate of infections.  One of the specialists is epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford, who warned in April to not hope for a warm-weather slump.  I also urged my family and friends in mid-May to not to let their guard down due to improving weather conditions.  Unfortunately, pandemic fatigue has set in on most Americans and my post was not well received.

If you are among higher-risk individuals who’s personal plans have eased because you believe warm weather is a deterrent to the spread of COVID-19, I recommend you reconsider your beliefs. Even if you are a person who is not at an increased risk of death due to COVID infection, the long term effects of a COVID illness are still unknown.  Be wise and follow guidelines to prevent disease.  Be proactive and protect your health. Be prepared for future medical visits and become a member on MyMedicInfo.com.

Updated 6/9/2020 at 9:40 am EST

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Connor

About Paul Connor

Nationally Certified Physician Assistant.
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