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Arizona hospitals to ‘fully activate’ emergency plan due to COVID-19 spike

Health director Dr. Cara Christ called for an increase in emergency plans

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Dr. Cara Christ, Director of Arizona Department of Health Services, speaks about the most recent Arizona coronavirus data at a news conference Thursday, May 28, 2020, in Phoenix.

Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, speaks about the most recent Arizona coronavirus data at a news conference Thursday, May 28, 2020, in Phoenix.

Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press

Arizona hospitals will now active emergency plans after a call from the state’s health director to do so in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

What’s happening:

  • Arizona Department of Health Director Cara Christ said over the weekend that hospitals should activate their full emergency plans to deal with the spike in COVID-19 cases within the state, per ABC15 Arizona.
  • Christ said in a letter that hospitals need to prepare for cross-training the staff and reducing elective surgeries to “ensure adequate bed capacity for both COVID and non-COVID admissions.”
  • Per AZ Central, Christ said hospital leaders need to review the crisis plan for the state to “make determinations for moving your facility from conventional care to contingency care and prepare for crisis care.”
  • Arizona saw cases jump to 27,678 with 1,047 deaths, per AZ Central.

The response

Banner Health — a nonprofit that operates hospitals in Arizona — released a statement on Twitter about the decision to engage with the emergency plans.

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. Our ICUs are very busy caring for the sickest of the sick who are battling COVID-19. Since May 15, ventilated COVID-19 patients have quadrupled. Banner Health also recently reached capacity for patients receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment. These trends are a good reminder for everyone in the community to exercise behaviors that are proven to prevent the spread of COVID-19.