PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- State data shows the use of ventilators and ICU beds during the pandemic is trending down. But now hospitals are preparing for another wave of illness that could potentially max out their resources.
“We were running at a high level for a long period of time,” says Dr. Ross Goldberg, surgeon at Valleywise Health. “With the staff influx that the state has helped bring in, we're kind of getting a good handle on things.”
Goldberg says hospitals are planning for an onslaught of patients sick with coronavirus and the flu. He’s also concerned about some schools opening before meeting public health benchmarks. Because of these factors, Goldberg says, Valleywise is adding to its protocols for managing resources.
And while it might feel early, the hope is more people will get a flu shot this year to keep from getting sick in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have resources. We don’t want to find out what our ceiling is,” says Goldberg. “We are prepared to deal with waves of patients. The question is, can we get help from the public to not cause a giant wave all at once?”
Goldberg is encouraging the public to continue wearing masks and washing their hands.
Data from the Arizona Department of Health Services shows the number of occupied ICU beds hit its peak last month at 91-percent. Now that figure is down to 80-percent. There are more available ventilators with 36-percent of the machines being used right now.
Valleywise is making sure hospitals can acquire more staff when needed, says Goldberg. Banner Health, which treats almost half of all Covid-19 patients hospitalized in Arizona, says it’s working on a plan for the flu season. Maricopa County says it is in regular communication with hospitals and monitors data and trends. The county intends to put heavy emphasis on distributing and administering the flu shot to prevent additional strain on healthcare capacity.
Goldberg is urging everyone to stay vigilant, continue wearing masks, keeping distance, and maintain good hygiene.
“If we relax now we’re going to backwards and go right where we were a month ago,” says Goldberg.