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COVID-19: Patients shift between hospitals as beds fill up

Arizona’s Surge Line finds hospitals with vacant COVID beds
TMC Covid area.jpg
Posted at 7:49 PM, Jun 16, 2020

TUCSON, Ariz. - Arizona hospitals are moving patients from hospital to hospital to cope with rising numbers of COVID patients. It’s part of the state’s plan to cope with the caseload.

In a recent tweet, Doctor Steven Oscherwitz expressed alarm that Tucson Medical Center was running out of intensive care space for COVID patients.

TMC says as its COVID treatment areas fill up, it is using a statewide system called the Surge Line to move patients as needed to hospitals that have open capacity to care for Covid patients. TMC Vice President Julia Strange says the hospital has sometimes taken in COVID patients from other hospitals when TMC had the space for them. Now it’s asking other hospitals to help ease its patient load.

“And when a hospital reaches a point. And like TMC has done over the last few days where we say we are going to be, we are going to be reaching the high end of our capacity. We call that Surge Line. They find us a bed and that patient is accepted and is taken to the appropriate level of care.

TMC says it’s asking the Governor’s office to provide more quick result COVID tests because sometimes patients suspected of having COVID can occupy hospital resources specialized for COVID, then tests later reveal they had another condition that could have been treated another way.

Julia Strange says, “Patients that come into our facility who are suspected of having COVID need to have that test to verify that are treated as a COVID patient for up to two days taking valuable resources and bed space”.

Julia Strange says in most cases patients moved through Surge Line referrals have still stayed in the Tucson area.