Arizona’s top doctors estimate 1 in 10 Arizonans have COVID-19, push for more mitigation efforts

Banner COVID-19 update

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona is one of the hottest spots for COVID-19 not only in the nation, but in the world.

That was the message from doctors today who took a united approach in urging the public to take additional mitigation efforts, regardless of what our leaders do.

Today, doctors said they are under immense pressure as hospitals expand and adjust operations to accommodate a high volume of patients.

I wanted to know if the surge continues, are doctors preparing to make incredibly tough decisions concerning who lives and who dies.

I asked if resources become more limited, do they foresee doctors having to make more tough decisions when it comes to overriding a family or patient’s wishes and ordering a Do Not Resuscitate form.

“If we continue to have uncontrolled spread in the State of Arizona. We will continue to escalate to crisis standards of care and if that continues with uncontrolled spread, we will get to triage. It does mean that we might have to make very difficult decisions about what type of care would be available for an individual patient. We hope we do not get there. We are asking you, we are imploring you today to help us avoid that,” said Dr. Marjorie Bessel, Chief Clinical Officer at Banner Health.

Dr. Bessel joined other doctors from across the state in urging Arizonans to help stop the spread of the virus to prevent us from entering crisis levels.

“There will come a point in which healthcare needs in our community will surpass hospital resources if we continue to experience uncontrolled spread of COVID19 here in Arizona,” said Dr. Alyssa Chapital, Hospital Director for Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Keith Frey, the Chief Medical Officer for the Arizona division of Dignity Health said additional mitigation efforts should be enforced.

“Like a statewide mask mandate, a curfew, stopping indoor dining, canceling large gatherings and adhering to a bidirectional roadmap for the openings and closings of businesses based on science and data,” Dr. Frey said.

Dr. Stephanie Jackson, Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Value Officer for HonorHealth called on Arizonans to make sacrifices despite what COVID regulations leaders may enforce.

“If you wanted to keep your friends and family safe, indoor dining at this time is not a good idea. We have extremely widespread levels of COVID-19,” Dr. Jackson said. “If you are able to avoid going to the grocery store, and have your groceries delivered or order online, this is the time to do that.”

This advice comes the same week Governor Doug Ducey gave his State of the State address, where he made it clear he did not want cities locked down and wants students back in the classroom.

“We understand that learning and bringing our children together is very important but at this time with uncontrolled spread of the virus, we need to do things that we know will reduce the chances the virus spread and that is not gathering with people we don’t live with at this particular point,” Dr. Frey said.

These doctors credit the collaboration amongst Arizona hospitals and health systems for remaining open and accessible.

They tell us their number one concern right now is staffing.

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