Banner Health expects hospitalizations to peak in mid-February from recent omicron surge
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- We are two years into the pandemic, and hospitals in the Valley still feel a significant impact from COVID-19. Arizona has more than 3,400 hospitalized patients with COVID. At Banner Health, the chief clinical officer Marjorie Bessel said more than a third of their patients either have COVID or are suspected of having COVID.
Bessel said Monday that hospital admissions had been steadily increasing since the beginning of this month, and they’re expecting to hit a peak soon. “Our forecasting models predict that hospitalizations from this most recent omicron surge will peak around mid-February,” Bessel said.
Bessel said 87% of patients in the ICU at Banner Health are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. Bessel said with hospitalizations increasing, they have to readjust. “We have individuals who work in other parts of our organization who are being redeployed to make sure we have appropriate staff to take care of our hospitals,” Bessel said.
Due to limited staffing, some Banner urgent care locations have had to close. On Monday, three of their nine locations are closed. However, telehealth remains an option. Though hospitals are overwhelmed, Bessel explains the silver lining with the omicron variant.
“The total number of patients we have that are either COVID positive or COVID suspected is at an extremely high level right now, but many of those patients are requiring a lesser level of care,” Bessel explained.
Bessel said she and her hospital staff are hopeful the end of the pandemic is on the horizon. “We will need to learn how to live with it, but hopefully, it will be at a lesser level of prevalence and perhaps become more of a subdued type of infection. Perhaps becoming more secular in that we have it maybe in the winter season with other respiratory pathogens, and we learn to live with it in that fashion,” Bessel said.
Valley nurses are eager to see better, says. “Similar to most other providers, I’m just fatigued and tired,” one Valley nurse said. “It’s not supposed to be where every day you go home and have at least one, two, or three people that have died on your shift,” another Valley nurse said.
We also heard from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health today. They said their recent data from the week of December 12 to December 18 shows those not vaccinated were 64 times more likely to die due to COVID-19 than those fully vaccinated.
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