Arizona hospitals have reached record high occupancy

Published: Thursday, December 9, 2021 - 2:43pm
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Arizona’s hospitals are nearly full. The Arizona Department of Health Services reports licensed inpatient beds, emergency department beds and intensive care unit beds across the state are all at record-high occupancy levels as of Thursday. Just 78 ICU beds remain unoccupied in the state of 7 million people. 

“We’ve been in what’s called contingency standards of care for a few weeks now, which means early discharge, repurposing emergency departments to be general ward floors, higher staffing ratios. This affects the kind of care people get and whether they’re admitted in the first place,” said Will Humble, director of the Arizona Public Health Association and former director of the state health department. 

Arizona has recently been reporting more than 4,000 new COVID-19 infections per day, on average. Cases are expected to continue to climb through the holiday season. About 40% of ICU patients in Arizona are being treated for COVID-19, the majority of whom are unvaccinated. 

Humble told KJZZ's "The Show" that December is always a busy time for hospitals. He said the high number of recent COVID-19 hospitalizations in Arizona puts immense strain on the health care system. 

“The hospital situation isn’t just impacting COVID folks," Humble said. "It’s impacting everybody, and it’s getting worse.” 

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