COVID-19 in Arizona: Hospitals struggle to care for patients due to the unvaccinated

On Sept. 18, 108 Arizonans lost their lives due to COVID-19 -- a death toll we haven't seen in our state since February. But during this surge, most of the victims are under the age of 50. 

Vaccination rates were higher in the couple of months with news of the delta variant spreading across the country. Now health experts say we've seen a drop in vaccinations and a steady number of hospitalizations.

COVID-19 infection rates are high while vaccination rates at the moment are low.

Executive Director of the Arizona Public Health Association, Will Humble, says these stats are concerning. He explains cases among children are thankfully declining, but the adult hospitalizations are fairly steady.

"Hospitals are struggling to meet the level of care for the number of patients they have because of unvaccinated adult patients," said Humble.

Right now, Arizona is averaging 10,000 vaccinations per day according to statewide data. While earlier this year, Arizona averaged 10,000 vaccinations per day at each vaccination site.

MORE: Find COVID-19 vaccine locations in your area

"Over the last week, we see more people becoming infected with the virus than are getting vaccinated. That kind of puts it in perspective," said Humble.

Humble says while there are treatment options available for those who become hospitalized with COVID-19, like monoclonal antibodies, that form of treatment isn't ideal.

"It's not a terrific clinical treatment to begin with. It needs to be given early on. The clinical guidelines are only for people with higher risk medical conditions and it costs thousands of dollars. Rather than the vaccine, that costs $15."

Moving forward, he says the vaccine is the most effective option, but we still have a long way to go.

"At this rate, it is just going to take us a lot longer than it needs to put this pandemic behind us."

At this point, 57% of Arizonans are vaccinated.



 

Arizona COVID-19 resources, FAQ: azdhs.gov/coronavirus

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Monitor your health daily

Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic

Senior COVID-19 advisor to Arizona Gov. Ducey details plan to get more people vaccinated

The man appointed to the task is Dr. Richard Carmona, senior COVID-19 advisor to the governor. He is a former U.S. Surgeon General, and recently was named as a key COVID-19 advisor to ADHS.

Arizona reports most additional COVID-19 deaths since February

The additional deaths and 2,609 additional confirmed cases reported Tuesday on the state’s coronavirus dashboard increased the state’s pandemic totals to 19,304 deaths and 1,055,487 cases.

Ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could bring new worries for Arizona's hospitality industry

While winter usually brings relief for the hospitality industry, there are also possible signs of trouble this year as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.



 

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