Arizona Hospitals May Soon Reach Capacity, Expert Warns

Published: Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - 2:22pm
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Arizona State University
Joshua LaBaer

There are more than three times as many confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona today as there were one month ago. Public health experts say the virus isn’t slowing down. 

The state reports about 88% of Arizona’s hospital ICU beds are in use as of Tuesday. Joshua LeBaer with the Biodesign Institute at ASU warns that at the rate cases are rising, some Arizona hospitals will reach capacity within the next few weeks.

“It’s important to remember that what we’re looking at here is an exponential curve, so things can go up very quickly," LeBaer said in a call with reporters.

LeBaer said the state needs to consider every possible tool to slow the spread, including expanding contact tracing and increasing compliance with mask mandates. He also said the state should be testing more than just the people who show symptoms.

“We should be testing many more asymptomatic individuals, because we know that people without symptoms can still spread this virus, and we need to get results back to those people very quickly," LeBaer said. 

LeBaer said many tests take up to a week for results. So people may be spreading the disease before they know they’re positive.

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