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Banner Health concerned about capacity as COVID-19 hospitalizations rise

Posted at 5:19 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 20:19:01-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Health officials are once again raising the alarm about hospital capacity.

“At this time banner health is continuing to manage that volume by again moving patients and getting staff from outside contract labor to meet that need,” said Banner Health Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Marjorie Bessel.

Last week, 94% of their hospitalized COVID-19 patients were not vaccinated.

“These patients are younger than those that we treated in prior surges with most only being between ages of 20 and 60,” said Dr. Bessel.

Bessel says Banner Health is seeing the same trends the state is seeing when it comes to increases in COVID hospitalizations. One disturbing trend is an exponential increase in pediatric patients.

"In just the first two weeks of Aug., we had the same number of pediatric patients that we did in the entire month of July,” she said. “We are currently on pace to surpass the number of pediatric COVID patients during the winter surge.”

Surging COVID hospitalizations are also combining with a high volume of non-COVID patients.

“The high number of non-COVID patients is due in part to the fact that many delayed care in 2020 and are now seeking care for illnesses and medical issues that have become more severe.”

Bessel says hospitals may once again need to restrict visitors and cancel elective surgeries.

"It is our absolute hope and desire to not get to that point,” she said. “So, we ask all of you who are listening to do your part so we can be there for you. For both COVID and non-COVID illnesses. Please get vaccinated as soon as possible.”