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Facing possible shortage of hospital beds, Arizona prepares hospitals to activate emergency plan

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Posted at 4:28 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 19:28:19-04

Arizona Department of Health Services sent out a letter this weekend informing hospitals in Arizona to "fully activate" their facility emergency plans.

In doing so the hospitals are going to be preparing surge beds, cross-training staff, and possibly reducing or suspending elective surgeries to "ensure adequate bed capacity for both COVID and non-COVID admissions."

The letter states the hospitals need to identify additional ICU and inpatient beds to meet the 50 percent additional bed increase.

The state's hospitals are now to determine whether or not to move their facility from conventional care to contingency care and also prepare for crisis care.

Saturday, ADHS director Dr. Cara Christ said staff made errors and reported incorrect hospitalization numbers on the Arizona Department of Health Services coronavirus dashboard since April.

ADHS miscalculated the number of hospital beds currently available and in use in Arizona, due to staff members' confusion about the hospitals' licensed bed capacity and surge capacity.

Friday, ADHS reported the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, while medical centers across the state had 1,234 coronavirus inpatients and 718 emergency room visits.

Banner Health says they are seeing a steady climb in coronavirus cases in Arizona and they have reached capacity for patients with receiving ECMO treatment.