Medical staff move bodies from the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center to a refrigerated truck on April 2, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York.
Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images
Arizona recorded its highest single-day death toll on Tuesday with 117 deaths.
The state has become an epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic, surpassing 100,000 cases on Monday.
Healthcare workers in the state are overburdened and worry that surging cases could lead to more unnecessary deaths.
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Arizona recorded its highest single-day of reported coronavirus deaths. At least 117 deaths were reported on Tuesday, according to AZ Central.
The state also reported 3,653 new COVID-19 cases bringing the state’s total number of cases to more than 105,000 cases. In the first five months since the first coronavirus case in January, the state recorded 50,000. On Monday, the state surpassed 100,000 cases — double the number of cases in the first five months in just two weeks.
AZ Central added that when it comes to recorded deaths, it doesn’t mean 117 people died over the past day, but just the number of coronavirus deaths identified by the state’s Department of Health Services. Those deaths could have occurred at any time in the past weeks or months.
However, healthcare workers and residents in the state are still alarmed by how fast cases are surging in the state and what that means for adequate care for severe patients. Many are worried that if the healthcare system gets overburdened there will be more unnecessary deaths.
Dr. Matthew Heinz, a hospitalist and internist at Tucson Medical Center, told Business Insider that if a statewide mandate on masks isn’t enforced and people don’t physically distance, cases are only going to go up and it’s going to be hard to treat everyone who ends up in the hospital.
“And if the behavior is not modified voluntarily, which it has not been and we’re at the point of — we basically have no ICU beds left in the state of Arizona,” Heinz said.
He added the ICU critical care surge line, which works to transports patients to available beds across the state told him there were no available beds when they tried to transfer a patient on Monday night. He said the call was made at 1:30 a.m. local time and was told: “Nope, no beds, sorry, call us back later.”
On Tuesday afternoon, he told Insider he still wasn’t sure if the transfer had been resolved.
“That’s a situation where we can’t wait for people to figure out this is really important to be doing,” he said.
Dr. Sandra Till, a pulmonologist and critical care intensivist at Banner University Medical Center Phoenix, told Business Insider that the issue wasn’t just with staffing beds but making sure there were enough critical care doctors and nurses that could provide adequate care to patients.
Many have already been working 90 hour work weeks are burning out. Without their efforts, patients could be at risk of receiving not the best care.
“The doctors and nurses and respiratory therapists are getting tired,” she said. “You know, we have been working overtime, we’ve been working harder, and now we’re being asked to work even more.”
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