PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- COVID numbers are continuing to spike at alarming rates as more people are being tested here in Arizona, amid the health department misreporting the number of available hospital beds in the state.
Leaders with the Arizona Department of Health Services said it did not have an accurate count of the number of available hospital beds statewide.
Now, hospitals have spoken out with major concerns about the virus and the numbers they’re seeing. Banner Health raised a major red flag Monday, tweeting that since May 15th their number of COVID patients on ventilators has quadrupled.
Arizona’ Family asked the health department if they're worried. “At this time, we are not concerned about a lack of ventilators, however we’ll continue to take a look,” said Jessica Rigler, the Assistant Director of the AZ Dept. of Health Services. “Banner is one system in the statewide system of healthcare facilities here.”
That begged the question: What does the COVID data look like on the state's online dashboard right now?
- COVID cases in the emergency room: the highest they've ever been.
- Inpatient cases: the highest they've ever been.
- Intubations: the highest they've ever been.
- ICU beds in use: the highest they've ever been.
- Ventilator usage: the highest ever within the last week.
The letter comes as our state sees a recent rise in COVID-19 cases.
This past weekend, the health department sent a letter to hospitals to fully activate their emergency plan, which could include stopping elective surgeries again if hospitals don't have enough bed capacity or staffing.
“The letter was really a way to address some of the concerns in the community over the last week or so to remind hospitals of the tools that they have in order to be able to prepare for a surge in their facility,” said Rigler.
Arizona's Family asked other hospital systems in the Valley if they were seeing similar concerning increased like Banner.
Valleywise said in just this past week they've had an increase in ventilator and ICU bed usage for COVID patients, and their highest number of COVID patients at one time was just this Monday at 33.
Mayo Clinic said they've seen a clear increase in ICU and inpatient COVID cases in June alone.
Honor Health and Abrazo both said they've also seen an increase in COVID cases recently.
Honor Health said much of their surge has been patients coming in from northern Arizona, and New Mexico.
This comes on the heels of misreported numbers. The health department confirmed they did not have an accurate count of the number of available hospital beds statewide, after including "surge beds" in their available count, when they weren't ready to be in use yet. “I think it was a misunderstanding on the team’s part about how those beds were being used,” said Rigler.
Banner Health said they are still implementing their emergency plan, and as of now, will still continue elective surgeries.