Health officials in Arizona are concerned that COVID-19 hospitalizations have tripled in the last month.

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Sound the alarm. Wave the red flags. According to health experts, Arizona's COVID-19 crisis is on the verge of another surge, which could push the state's health care system to the brink.


Dr. Quinn Snyder says Valley hospitals are getting dangerously close to reaching capacity,

Dr. Quinn Snyder is an emergency physician. Snyder says Valley hospitals are getting dangerously close to reaching capacity, and if that happens, hospitals may be forced to implement their "Crisis Standards of Care," which means some patients will get treated, while others may not.

"If, in fact, we have to enter triage protocols, we will literally have to decide who gets care and who does not," said Snyder. "It is terribly frightening and something none of us who go into medicine would ever want to have to face."

On Tuesday, Arizona's Department of Health Services reported 10,322 new COVID-19 cases, with thousands more expected by the end of the week.

Arizona reports 85,000 new cases of COVID-19 in November, highest month on record

State health officials said the high number of cases was based on delayed reporting over the long holiday weekend. Medical experts are now predicting a big spike after Thanksgiving because of all the families who gathered together.

Will Humble is executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association. He said that Arizona could have avoided another "Covid Crisis" if more people had been wearing masks, and state and local officials did a better job cracking down on the health safety measures now in place.

"The mitigation measures required of restaurants and bars are good; they're just not being enforced," said Humble. "You can go around town and look, and you'll see more places doing it right, but then places are cheating, with competitors getting away with it. It starts to spread the behavior."

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

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