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COVID: Southern AZ hospitals hold off oxygen shortages

Oxygen supplies low in Southeast U.S.
Posted at 7:03 PM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 22:03:56-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — COVID outbreaks have become so severe that hospitals in the U.S. have been running out of critical supplies like oxygen; but local hospitals say their supplies are holding up.

High volume oxygen has become a critical treatment for COVID cases. Now hospitals are using so much oxygen that supplies are getting scarce.

Hospitals, especially in the Southeast, report their oxygen stocks are running low. Arizona hospitals say that has not happened here. Doctor Marjorie Bessel, the Chief Clinical Officer for Banner Health says Banner’s treating almost half the COVID cases in the state but still has enough oxygen and other supplies to care for hospitals packed with COVID and Non-COVID patients.

“I will also remind us that Banner Health operates in six different states, and that also allows us to move materials as needed, from one place to another as we have surges or differing levels of materials, and we can move those to make sure that we all have adequate supplies to care for our patients.”

Kim Moon, Tucson Medical Center’s supply chief says, “Yes, we are good on all critical supplies, however we continue to be challenged daily with backorders and substitute products, but are working through them with minimal inconvenience. ..." She says TMC works to maintain a 60 to 90 day supply of key items.

Northwest Healthcare says, in part, it has: “....adequate resources for patients in our care, including oxygen.”

Carondelet Health Network says: “We can safely and appropriately care for our patients with the necessary supplies and equipment that we currently have. We continue to monitor supply levels and take proactive measures to meet our patient care needs.”

Smaller hospitals may have to take even more care to stockpile critical supplies. In Willcox, Northern Cochise Community Hospital says in last winter's COVID surge it had to resort to three different oxygen suppliers.

Now COVID support grants have paid for a new, larger oxygen system set to go on line this week but the amount of oxygen in the tanks still depends on adequate supplies that come in by truck.