How Soon Will Arizona Know If Mask Orders Are Working?

Published: Thursday, June 25, 2020 - 1:27pm
Audio icon Download mp3 (12.01 MB)

Across the state, ICU beds are steadily filling up. They aren’t all occupied by patients with COVID-19, but ASU’s Biodesign Institute Executive Director Joshua LaBaer says the number of beds for those patients is growing, and that’s not likely to change as the number of cases increases day after day.

“One observation that’s been made in the hospitals has been that the rate of admissions is exceeding the rate of discharge," LaBaer said. "So, patients in many cases are staying in the hospital for long periods of time — a week, two weeks, even longer — and yet, there are new cases coming in. So, that’s also going to start impacting the availability of beds.”

LaBaer said the remaining ICU beds will fill up soon if the state continues on the same trajectory.

The Arizona Department of Health Services on June 25 reported another 3,056 cases, bringing our total to more than 63,030. So far 1,490 people have died — 27 more deaths were reported today.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health said we’re seeing a dramatic increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases here, and that that increase is sustaining itself.

Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, the county’s medical director for disease control, said the county has seen 36% of its total cases in the last week alone. She said about 20% of patients who test positive are ending up in the hospital now, whereas that number was about a third before. But, Sunenshine said, that’s only part of the story.

“Even though these proportions of cases who are being hospitalized are lower, the total number of hospital and ICU beds that are occupied by COVID-19 positive patients has steadily climbed and is the highest that it’s ever been,” Sunenshine said.

The Show spoke to Marcy Flanagan, director of the Maricopa County Public Health Department, about that sustained rise Dr. Sunenshine outlined. 

More Stories From KJZZ

Coronavirus Science The Show