Arizona COVID-19 hospitalizations may not peak until mid-February
On average, Arizona is now seeing seven times as many COVID-19 cases per day as it was just a month ago and hospitals are still struggling to keep up.
Modelers say the fast-moving omicron wave of COVID-19 is likely now peaking in Arizona. But hospitals in the state are nearly full and experts expect hospitalizations won’t peak until a few weeks after cases begin falling.
“Our forecasting models predict that hospitalizations from this most recent omicron surge will peak around mid-February," Banner Health chief clinical officer Dr. Marjorie Bessel told reporters Monday.
The omicron variant does appear to be putting fewer Arizona patients into the intensive care unit than previous strains of the virus did. But Bessel said with cases so widespread, the health care system remains extremely strained. Bessel said Banner is operating under crisis-level staffing protocols and has had to temporarily close some of its urgent care centers. She said about a third of Banner inpatient beds are now occupied by COVID-19 patients who are mostly unvaccinated.
She’s pleading with Arizonans to continue taking precautions to mitigate spread of the virus.
“We have not yet peaked with this omicron wave and we still have some time ahead of us. Please get vaccinated, get boosted and wear a good KN95 or N95 mask until we peak and get over that peak and are headed down," Bessel said.