Banner employee calls “second COVID-19 wave” more worrisome than the first

Posted at 10:22 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 01:22:24-04

On June 11, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey updated the public on the number of Arizona Hospital ICU beds currently occupying COVID-19 patients. Governor Ducey touted the high number of beds still available at hospitals, but one ICU doctor said the number of beds doesn't tell the whole story.

"We definitely have places to put people who get sick and ventilators to put them on, but we don't have any more of those skilled nurses to take care of those patients," said Jennifer O'Hea MD, an Intensivist at Banner University Medical Center Phoenix.

In the first half of June, Arizona has reported more than 16,000 new positive COVID-19 cases, and 277 deaths. Dr. O'Hea said state precautions in March and April helped slow the spread of the virus and kept the mortality rate down, but there is still concern for a "second-wave" of cases.

"We want the public to know this is the definite turning point for this state," said O'Hea. "This second wave is much more worrisome than the first because we are not started from the baseline of zero capacity or minimal capacity.