Arizona ICUs Have Less Than 300 Beds Available As Coronavirus Cases Rise

Arizona hospitals have reached a record low in available ICU beds amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to local news outlet KTAR, ICU beds reached an 85 percent occupancy on Friday after being at 84 percent occupancy for the two days prior. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services' COVID dashboard, 1,405 ICU beds are currently in use. The 15 percent not currently occupied equates to 257 beds as of Friday.

Of those admitted into the ICU, 546 are COVID-19 patients, according to DHS.

In a tweet Friday, the DHS announced 3,246 news cases of coronavirus reported in the state. On Saturday, the DHS tweeted that there was a slight reduction with 3,109 new coronavirus cases.

TAKE ACTION: 3,109 new cases of #COVID19 . Always wear a mask in public even if you do not feel sick. Maintain physical distancing. Stay home when sick. Avoid large groups. Let’s work together to slow the spread of COVID-19. #MaskUpAZ

— AZ Dept of Health (@AZDHS) June 20, 2020

In a press conference on Wednesday, Governor Doug Ducey spoke about plans to slow and contain the spread of the virus and "Ensure[d] hospital capacity."

"This is highly contagious. There is widespread transmission. For people that get ill and need the hospital, we want them to have the skill and the care and comfort of Arizona's finest to nurse them back to health so they can recover," he said. "Today, we have hospital capacity and we intend to keep it that way."

On Wednesday, Ducey announced new actions being taken to slow and contain the spread of COVID-19 including increased testing, contact tracing, local mitigation efforts, an education campaign, and enhanced guidance. In a tweet, he added that long-term care facilities would get $10 million to use to provide PPE and masks for residents.

"@AZDHS will continue to prioritize ongoing testing of residents and staff," he wrote.

With #COVID19 transmission increasing in Arizona and around the country, I’m announcing enhanced actions to contain the spread and protect those most vulnerable. These actions build on Arizona's substantial efforts to boost testing, expand contact tracing, secure PPE and more. 1/

— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) June 17, 2020

The Arizona DHS and Ducey's office did not respond to Newsweek's request for comment in time for publication.

When asked about hospitals doing elective surgeries and the increased capacities in Wednesday's press conference, DHS director Dr. Cara M. Christ said that the agency is reviewing all hospitals' data.

"We've got hospitals that we do know are over the 80 percent. A one-day over or a couple days over wouldn't necessarily throw them out if they were taking steps to get back under that," she responded

In a June 6 blog post explaining how bed availability is calculated from Christ, she wrote that the hospitals received 600 new ICU beds and 2,600 inpatient surge beds.

"Our coordination with hospital partners continues as we plan for an increase of COVID-19 cases. We've recently reached out to several facilities to validate the data they are reporting to us. As a result of this work, we have improved the method for determining inpatient and ICU bed availability to more accurately reflect available resources," she wrote.

According to the DHS's website, Arizona's total coronavirus cases have reached 49,798, and 1,338 people have died from the virus.

arizona covid
Medical staff working at a Covid-19 testing center at the Navajo Nation town of Monument Valley in Arizona on May 21, 2020. MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty