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Banner Health leaders point to concerning trends despite a plateau of hospitalizations

Posted at 6:15 PM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 21:15:25-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9) — Banner hospitals are still managing a heavy load of COVID-19 patients. This is despite hospitalizations plateauing in recent weeks. The number of patients ventilated and in the Intensive Care Unit continues to be higher than last summer’s surge.

“While we are pleased to no longer see exponential growth in our markets, I will point out this is a very high plateau.” said Banner Health Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Marjorie Bessel at Wednesday's press conference. “The duration has extended for much longer than prior surges when cases peaked and then quickly descended.”

Dr. Bessel went on to acknowledge there have been reports of Banner refusing to accept some patients from smaller hospitals.

"We are aware that there have been issues reported of some patients needing higher level care and have not been able to receive that.” There is also another troubling trend around the drug Ivermectin.

"During the month of August, Banner’s poison center managed 10 cases. Some that were so severe they did require hospitalization,” she said.

Dr. Bessel says Ivermectin is not an FDA approved treatment for COVID-19 and people self-treating themselves with the version found in livestock medication are risking their health.

"We strongly recommend against any individual out there purchasing Ivermectin from stores that have that on sale for livestock, the dosage of that can be very detrimental to your health.”

While some things have changed, some things remain the same. Nearly all of Banner’s hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.

“Vaccination is the best way for us to put an end to this pandemic so we can return to a more normal way of living,” said Dr. Bessel. “And so that everyone can have access to the care they need both COVID and non-COVID.”

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