PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - There is a new timeline of the coronavirus here in Arizona. Health officials believe the worst of the cases and hospitalizations are weeks away, based on worst-case projections.
According to Arizona Department of Health Services Director Cara M. Christ, the illness could peak around mid-April, with peak hospitalizations happening around the middle of May. Christ would not say how many people they expect to fall ill or die from the coronavirus but she did say the state health care system had a lot of needs before they hit the expected peak. Christ said Arizona needs an additional 13,000 hospital beds and 1,500 ICU beds on top of the current levels of 16,000 beds and 1,500 ICU beds. Christ tweeted out on Wednesday evening the numbers are based on the beginning of the outbreak based on data from Wuhan, China.
"We have a responsibility to prepare for the worst-case scenario. It's the only way to plan for a pandemic," she said in a tweet.
Some perspective about the #COVID19 projections: our numbers are based on worst case projections from the beginning of the outbreak based on data from Wuhan. While we plan for the worst, there is already a lot that we have put into place to mitigate the spread. 1/9 https://t.co/6szWAdrFvF— Dr. Cara Christ (@drcarachrist) March 25, 2020
The new timeline appears to jeopardize the current school year which had expected to be closed down until April 10. Joe Thomas, the president of the state largest teacher's union, doubts schools will keep that schedule given the new information from health officials.
Health officials are looking to add beds to hospitals and unused buildings and set up three field hospitals, with two of them in Phoenix. Gov. Ducey said more work is underway to expand testing, add hospital beds and find more masks, gloves and gowns.
"We're working night and day to ensure our hospitals are prepared for influx, bringing more beds online and working practively with our hospital community," said Ducey.
There's quite a bit of confusion surrounding the most recent strain of the coronavirus. Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions.
Arizona has more than 400 cases of the coronavirus, as of Wednesday, with six deaths and about 6,600 samples tested by state and private health labs.