COVID-19 cases in other states impact Arizonans in more than one way

Lauren Grace Bailey's brother (left) is fighting COVID-19 in El Paso.

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - COVID-19 cases are spiking around the country, including Arizona and our neighboring states.

Mobile morgues have been brought into El Paso, Texas, and medical tents have been set up around the state. Hospitals in El Paso are getting help from FEMA and other military medical providers, as more than 1,000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, according to their health department. One of them is Lauren Grace Bailey’s brother.

“He’s always been just a jokester,” said Lauren Grace Bailey, a Rio Rico resident. “If you want to be in a room full of laughs, he’s the go-to guy.”

Those laughs now stifled by a more than 10-day hospital stay and a ventilator. Hours away here in southern Arizona — Bailey relies on phone calls to get updates.

“They were working frantically just to keep him from having a heart attack. It was real frightful,” said Bailey.

Bordering El Paso, New Mexico projected earlier this month that its hospitals could be in crisis standards of care in a couple of weeks. Hundreds of people are currently hospitalized in the state with COVID-19 — not including transfers to other states.

Banner-University Medical Center, Tucson Medical Center and Northwest Medical Center all say they have received patients from New Mexico, but while hospitalizations continue to rise in Arizona, there is still room enough in our hospitals to serve the needs of those who are sick.

Northwest Medical Center said in a written statement they, “…have capacity and remain prepared to care for everyone who needs medical attention, and we encourage anyone experiencing a medical emergency to seek care right away. In addition, we are prepared for any COVID-19 related hospitalizations, including patients coming in from out-of-state.”

Banner said they have adequate capacity, but, “Predictive models indicate that Arizona could soon experience exponential growth of the virus if efforts are not taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

“I don’t want to play with this. It’s like playing with fire,” said Bailey.

Whether it’s a patient transferred to Arizona hospitals, or a family member of an Arizonan, this virus doesn’t stop at state lines — neither does hope.

“I have faith that he’s going to pull through, and we’re going to see him through it,” said Bailey.

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