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Banner Health: Why this COVID surge is different for hospitals

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 7:33 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The recent surge of COVID-19 cases is taking a toll on local hospitals. Now, an update from Banner Health as leaders there say this surge is different.

That’s because they are seeing the hospitalization rate, the ICU admissions, and the ventilator use in younger patients, primarily 20 to 60 years old. In previous surges they say those sickest were 60 or older.

Here’s a look at some of their numbers for July. Since July first, Banner says hospitalizations went up 95%, ventilator went up 300%, and 5% of hospital admissions were pediatric patients.

One unique hurdle Banner is dealing with right now is among non-COVID patients. Hospital admissions among that group are 15% higher than in a typical summer. They say that’s partly because many have delayed care during the pandemic.

”So we are doing our absolute best to continue operations as much as possible but are starting to see an uptick in the number of people seeking care and related to that some uptick in the amount of time it is taking for us to be able to respond,” said Marjorie Bessel, MD, Chief Clinical Officer of Banner Health.

Banner says elective surgeries are still happening right now. However, visitation is being restricted to just one visitor per patient per day in Maricopa, Gila, and Pinal Counties. In Coconino and Pima Counties two visitors are allowed.

Bessel says this is a fluid situation and things may change if COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

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