Journalists’ Roundtable: 12-17-21: Hospital Numbers, State asks for federal Covid help, Carmona retained as Chief Medical Officer

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It’s Friday and that means it’s time for the journalists’ roundtable. Tonight we return to our full-show format with our 3-guests in the studio. And joining us tonight: Mary Jo Pitzl of the Arizona Republic; Jim Small of the Arizona Mirror; and Dillon Rosenblatt from KJZZ radio.

This week’s Journalists’ Roundtable covered:

  • COVID Hospital Concerns
  • State Asks for Federal COVID Help
  • Carmona Retained as Chief Medical Officer
  • Redistricting Update
  • Biggs & Gosar & January 6th

What are we hearing regarding hospital concerns in Arizona?

Mary Jo Pitzl: “If you listen to the CEO of Banner Health, the state’s largest hospital network, they are rapidly hitting capacity there’s just not going to be room with the way cases of delta and omicron are multiplying, they are begging people to get the vaccine, to wear a mask, to take the protocols especially as we go into the holiday season,” Pitzl said.

Jim Small: “This will be healthcare rationing, this is going to be hospitals deciding who they’re going to care for and who is sick enough and who is not. We’ve already seen stories come out of folks who are sick enough who need to get ICU care who are being turned away there have been a lot of people recently who have been sent out of state, that’s only going to get worse,” Small said.

Dillon Rosenblatt: “When we saw this same surge back in the end of 2020 early 2021, they pleaded with the state health department with the governor’s office that ‘we need support’ KJZZ just had someone on from the Yuma Medical Center and they were saying you can give us money but we need staffing because there’s staffing shortages, nurses aren’t there to take care of these patients. There might be some bed capacity but if there’s nobody to help man those beds then it’s kind of pointless,” Rosenblatt said.

What is Richard Carmona doing and why is he staying on the job?

Mary Jo Pitzl: “Is he constrained in what he can say and what he can do in that role, the governor hired him and the governor has pretty much made it clear that we’ve gone about as far as we can in the state in terms of messaging and we’re not going to force anything on people in terms of covid mitigation,” Pitzl said.

Jim Small: “He’s there to try to provide a veneer of respectability and the idea that the governor’s office and the Ducey administration is doing something, is taking steps and I really haevn’t seen what his job is beyond doing interviews with you and doing interviews with us,” Small said.

Dillon Rosenblatt: “He came out first and foremost and was like I will be the health voice who will let the governor know our messaging needs to get across to all Arizonans, I’m not sure what that messaging is I haven’t seen a single thing change since his messaging has come on he’s getting paid I believe $400 an hour but he has done the equivalent of I believe two full weeks of work which is more than $30,000 he’s being paid and I haven’t seen a single difference,” Rosenblatt said.

Mary Jo Pitzl, Arizona Republic. Jim Small, Arizona Mirror. Dillon Rosenblatt, KJZZ.

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