SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A Scottsdale doctor who works on the frontline treating COVID-19 patients painted a concerning picture of what it's like in hospitals.
"Emergency rooms are getting slammed, where earlier in the month we didn't have much. But now it's our summertime, and it's suppose to be our slow season in Arizona, but we are getting pretty busy right now," said Dr. Iram Khan, who works at HonorHealth.
Will Humble, who served as the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services under Gov. Brewer, welcomed the governor’s action although he said it came too late for over-stressed hospitals.
The big problem she's seeing is the hospital filling up with patients quicker than it's emptying out.
"The main thing is we get short on staff because ICU nursing requires one-on-one care," said Khan. "These patients are sick, constantly need management, and they're just getting overwhelmed."
Khan said it can take months to fight this coronavirus.
"The illness is not easy," said Khan. "Patients complain of the chronic fatigue, even months after it. We don't even know the disease enough to know what the long term complications will be."
"We know what the game plan is to beat the pandemic. It's not rocket science."
She thinks it's here to stay, too.
"From what I think, it's not going away for at least a few years," said Khan. "Once we get a vaccine, maybe, but for right now, we just don't know enough if that vaccine's going to work, how long it's going to work for."
She says it's so important to wear a mask and make sure you're not around a lot of people.
HonorHealth issued the following statement:
"HonorHealth has been planning and preparing for a potential surge in COVID-19 patients since January. At this time, we have sufficient bed capacity (both ICU and general medical/surgical beds), equipment, supplies, staffing and PPE at all of our facilities. Every day, we monitor these measures, and many others, to ensure we can safely treat any suspected COVID-19 patients, and all other patients who walk through our doors.
During the last several months, HonorHealth has collaborated with the Arizona Department of Health Services to create surge capacity to ensure additional beds and equipment are available. We are preparing to implement phase one of our surge plans, if needed, as early as this week. These plans will provide additional capacity in our hospitals to align with the Governor’s order issued in April, and we have plans to expand surge capacity further, as needed.
HonorHealth’s main concern is the increased community spread of COVID-19, and the impact that spread can have on our most important asset during this pandemic, our staff and physicians. Following guidelines, such as wearing a mask in public, maintaining social distancing, staying home unless absolutely essential, avoiding large gatherings of ten or more and frequently washing your hands, are all aimed at keeping everyone safe. It is imperative everyone in the community follows this guidance, as it will help us protect our most precious resource, our staff and physicians, to ensure we have a full team available to treat all patients in need of services and care.
HonorHealth will continue to work with state and local experts, as well as other healthcare organizations, to monitor capacity and resources to make sure we’re prepared to take care of the needs in our communities."