COVID-19 Cases in Arizona Rise, State Health Director Urges Hospitals to Activate Emergency Plans

Since the last update, the numbers of positive COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations in Arizona per day have all increased, leading some experts to worry we may be experiencing a spike in community spread. Dr. Cara Christ, Arizona Department of Health Services Director, released a warning to hospitals to “fully activate” emergency plans, prepare for crisis care, and to suspend elective surgeries if they are experiencing a shortage of staff or bed capacity. This comes after the clinical director of the state’s largest hospital system, Banner Health, said ICU bed occupancy was growing and, if the trend continues, may exceed capacity.

Governor Doug Ducey held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, where a wholistic update on the COVID-19 pandemic was addressed. He addressed the recent national trends of cases increasing again, including Arizona. He emphasized that while cases are increasing, hospitals are prepared and ready for this increase. Dr. Cara Christ reiterated the actions being taken, including increased testing. The plan going forward is the continued Public Health Education Campaign which includes physical distancing, wash your hands, stay home when sick and cloth face coverings when physical distancing is not possible. There will be a continued effort to increase testing and constant focus on cases and hospital capacity. While the Governor did not indicate that he would issue a mandate, he did encourage for masks to be worn when physical distancing was not possible.

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