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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona sees increased ICU usage, upward trend of COVID-19 cases

Courtesy Katie Riley

Banner University Medical Center – Tucson

This week, the state of Arizona reached a grim milestone of 1,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 shortly after the nation passed 100,000 confirmed deaths the week before.

After a glimmer of hope of partial reopenings surged across every state, Arizona is now seeing an increased number of ventilators being used, an upward trend of cases and intensive care unit numbers on the rise as well. Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive stay-at-home order issued on March 30 expired on May 15, which was one of the earlier expiration dates across the country.

Banner Health, the largest healthcare system in the entire state, tweeted on June 8, “We have seen a steady climb of COVID-19 cases in Arizona over the last two weeks. This trend is concerning to us, and also correlates with a rise in cases that we are seeing in our hospital ICUs.”

Dr. Cara Christ, the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, told hospitals across the state to “fully activate” emergency plans after seeing the trend, according to ABC15 Arizona. As of June 8, over 75% of Arizona’s ICU beds are being used, according to ADHS. Banner Health also said that “since May 15, ventilated COVID-19 patients have quadrupled.”

RELATED: Arizona sees record-high increase in number of COVID-19 cases

Hospitals were being asked by Christ to prepare for crisis care and to suspend elective surgeries if they are experiencing a shortage of staff or bed capacity in a letter on June 6.

In total, Arizona has completed over 400,000  tests — both PCR and antibody tests — with about 6,500, or 6.3%, coming back with positive results, according to ADHS. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently said in an interview with the BIO Digital virtual health-care conference that COVID-19 turned out to be his “worst nightmare” come to life as cases around the globe continue to increase in worrisome amounts.

RELATED: What are the different tests for COVID-19 and how do they work?

However, this increasing trend of cases and hospitalizations isn’t unique to Arizona. Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services showed that on June 8, a total of 2,056 people were hospitalized across the state, up from a previous record of 1,888 on May 4.

It seems as if Arizona and other states across the country are light years away from achieving herd immunity, and with a vaccine too far for comfort, the reinstatement of more stringent social distancing measures could potentially be on the horizon.

Follow Amit Syal on Twitter

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