Banner once again instituting visitor restrictions at some facilities due to COVID-19

COVID-19 restrictions are returning to Banner hospitals in Arizona, as the delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread.

Officials with Banner Health say as they see a spike in new COVID-19, cases they have had to limit the amount of guests. This is only being implemented in a few counties, but hospital officials say additional locations can be added if needed.

According to Dr. Marjorie Bessel, Chief Clinical Officer for Banner Health, COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased by 95%, and ventilator usage has increased by 300% since July 1, and most of the patients being hospitalized are in the 20-60 year age group. Pediatric patients currently account for 5% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations. Banner officials don't know specifically how many of these patients are unvaccinated.

Due to the surge, Dr. Bessel says patients at facilities in Maricopa, Gila, and Pinal Counties are only allowed one visitor per day.

"Make sure you're appropriate to come visit, meaning you don't have any symptoms, and you're masked up appropriately, and we're following all of those guidelines," said Dr. Bessel.

Dr. Bessel says they will evaluate the new restrictions on a weekly basis. She also says the delta variant is fueling the spike in cases, and while the state is not close to the large surges we saw in July 2020 and January 2021, Dr. Bessel fears the current surge could get there.

"The slope of what we're starting to experience looks very, very similar to the exponential growth that we saw during those two very large surges," said Dr. Bessel. "However, we do have a tool that we didn't have then, and it's called vaccine."

Dr. Bessel says there's adequate space in the ICU and ventilators. She says they are taking what they have learned, and will start doing things as they did during previous surges.

"We're starting to do things we did previously, where we will be cohorting our COVID patients into particular wards, but again, everything within our hospitals remain open at this time," said Dr. Bessel.

At this time, elective surgeries are still going on as planned.

Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic

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COVID-19 resources

CDC Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 Vaccination (In Spanish/En Español)