ADHS data shows more people need hospital care for COVID-19 than a month ago.
PHOENIX – It was around the same time last year that Arizona began to experience an increase in the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19.
Compared to a year ago, the averages of COVID-19 cases are higher today than they were in 2020. Today, cases are on the rise again and more people need care hospitable today than a month ago.
Data on the rise
Data from the Arizona Department of Health Services shows that as of October 4, there were approximately 1,786 people in Arizona hospitals battling COVID-19.
The ADHS reported 2,200 people needed hospital care for the virus on Monday, a 23% increase from last month.
“We were all hoping we weren’t in this situation right now,” said Jody Johnson, director of nursing for a Valley COVID-19 medical emergency unit.
Johnson and his team have helped COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic.
âThe level of exhaustion is really stark knowing that there may not be an end in sight,â Johnson said.
She said they are helping take care of more patients now than a month ago.
âIt sounds a bit like deja vu last winter or last July when we had a flare up before,â Johnson said.
What’s different this time is that COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, but Johnson continually sees patients who haven’t taken the vaccine and then regret as they battle their disease.
âOne of the things I ask is, ‘What was your reluctance to get vaccinated? âSaid Johnson. “And they say, ‘Well I was so worried about the side effects or the consequences of having [the vaccine]. ‘ And then they realize that COVID is much worse. “
Dr. Joe Gerald, an assistant professor at the Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona, has been modeling the pandemic for Arizona for the past year and a half.
In his weekly report, Gerald noted how case rates have also increased 62% in the past three weeks.
“For most counties, the current rates are above those seen at the height of the summer 2020 wave,” Gerald noted.
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More patients, less staff
Dr Frank LoVecchio, an emergency doctor with Valleywise Health, said that while COVID-19 patients enter his emergency rooms, people arrive with other illnesses and injuries as well.
âI would say we are overcrowded,â LoVecchio said.
LoVecchio said it’s a combination of more people seeking care for COVID, and things like car accidents, drug overdoses, heart problems, etc., plus fewer people to care for. them who put a strain on hospitals.
âI can’t remember the last time I worked where they said, ‘We have enough nurses for the whole shift,’ LoVecchio said.
Staffing is what Johnson said she keeps an eye on as she looks to the future.
âThere is a level of safety that you can have, but there is also that can be safe, but it’s just that we can’t run thin day in and day out and expect people to keep coming back. work, âJohnson said.
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Prepare for the sequel
LoVecchio said there were concerns about people gathering for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and other winter holidays over the next two months and how this could impact the spread of COVID -19 in the community.
âI feel like if we get through that, and we don’t get a big raise, I feel like you know, that’s a good sign,â LoVecchio said.
LoVecchio said unvaccinated family members who gather during the holidays are most at risk during these gatherings. Noting that although people can still get sick from the virus if they are fully vaccinated, cases are usually mild.
However, Johnson is concerned about what COVID and winter illnesses could mean for the healthcare system.
âI think it will be a tough winter for healthcare. I think we’re going to see a lot of people sick, not just with COVID, but with all winter illnesses, âJohnson said. “And I see that is straining our health care system, potentially across the country, about as much as possible.”
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