TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - To help hospitals deal with the surge of COVID-19 patients, Arizona has been contracting out-of-state nurses to come here. However, this week is the biggest installment we’ve seen.
“This is part of a multi-pronged strategy,” said Dr. Cara Christ, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Since last month, Dr. Christ says they’ve been bringing in dozens of nurses from out-of-state each week; however, this week is our biggest batch.
“Since December 1st, 149 nurses have arrived in Arizona to offer much needed staffing support to hospitals throughout the state. We’re excited to welcome an additional 264 nurses this week,” said Holly Poynter, Spokesperson, Arizona Department of Health Services.
Yes, nearly 300 nurses are arriving this week. That bumps up the state total to 413 contracted nurses right now. So, just how many of these nurses are coming to Tucson?
Banner UMC says they have 137 at their Tucson campus and will be getting 68 next week. At their South Campus they have 41 and will be getting 27 next week.
Northwest Healthcare says they are bringing in about 30 traveling nurses and look forward to getting more soon.
Dr. Christ says a lot more are coming soon.
“Through the end of January we will actually be bringing in about 820 to 900 nurses in total,” she said.
Dr. Christ says these nurses will play a big role in helping hospitals handle so many COVID-19 patients.
“They have the beds, they have the space, they have the ventilators, and what we’re identifying like the rest of the country is the barrier now is staffing. And so, trying to get those additional staff in so that we can continue to take care of Arizonans is really important.”
We are told these nurses will stay for eight weeks.
We also reached out to Tucson Medical Center for the number of out-of-state nurses they are getting and will update you as soon as we get those numbers.