PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The number of sick people showing up at Arizona's emergency rooms and the number of people being admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 is rising without any end in sight. Public health experts warn it is time to take action, but Arizona's governor appears unwilling to move.

"Ideally, we would put in some interventions now," said Will Humble, who formerly served as the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Humble says the trajectory the state is on at this time will result in the need for field hospitals by the beginning of July because our state's hospital systems are quickly running out of bed space. But he says there are steps the governor and other leaders could take to mitigate the danger.

"The majority of hospitalizations and deaths are coming from assisted living and skilled nursing facilities," said Humble. He argues that an approach that targets those facilities would benefit the entire system.

Other health officials say the governor should allow cities and towns to create new restrictions on overcrowded bars and restaurants.

"I think if we remain open, we should have a lockdown mentality," said Dr. Shad Marvasti, an associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix.

Both Marvasti and Humble believe some targeted steps could pay dividends. Both agree that wearing face coverings would make a big difference in slowing the spread of the disease.

"I can't say enough how helpful wearing a mask is for everybody," said Marvasti.

People close to Governor Ducey said he is reluctant to institute any new state-wide restrictions.

Morgan Loew's hard-hitting investigations can be seen weekdays on CBS 5 News at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
 
 

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