The Arizona hospital capacity is increasing and with more seasonal visitors, it could increase even more

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Hospital capacity is getting tight as COVID cases are on the increase and non-COVID seasonal illnesses are starting to appear. All this as winter visitors and residents are set to return to Arizona. We talked about all this with Ann-Marie Alameddin, President and CEO of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association.  

“Across Arizona, hospital capacity is incredibly strain. It’s about 95, 96% capacity state-wide and some hospitals are over-capacity right now…we really are near 100% capacity,” Alameddin said.

Alameddin mentioned that the capacities are full in many locations, “it’s really across the board. ICU’s, in-patients, emergency departments are all really stretched incredibly thin right now.”

She continued that as of recently, “in terms of emergency department holds, that’s for patients who are looking on a medical/surgical floor, they meet criteria for in-patient admission, there are over 400 patients waiting for a hospital bed across Arizona.”

There is an increase in the capacity of hospital beds for several reasons.

“It’s the flu season, it’s the time in which our winter visitors come to Arizona to enjoy our wonderful weather. Increased hospitalizations for that retiree community. So that’s typically that influx, that peak of hospitalizations. But right now we don’t have the capacity and the system to really meet that any sort of increase and demand,” Alameddin said.

She mentioned that if you look at the data state-wide, about 65% of those hospitalized right now are non-COVID patients, some are patients that have been delaying care, delayed services, but these patients have a critical need for healthcare services.

Alameddin said that there’s also an increase in COVID patients at the moment and, “we just don’t have that margin.”

“It’s incredibly stressful for hospitals right now, particularly for our healthcare providers…it’s really different from a year ago where…it was pretty scary looking at the winter months and the up-tick in hospitalizations.”

She added, “but we didn’t have a vaccine last year and so we didn’t know what was going to happen. But this year we have a safe, we have an effective vaccine and we need to have our communities really take that vaccine to heart.”

Ann-Marie Alameddin, President and CEO of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association

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