Flagstaff Medical Center coping with rising number of COVID-19 cases in Northern Arizona

A medical professional from Children's National Hospital works at a coronavirus drive-thru testing site for children age 22 and under at Trinity University in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

One area that has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in Arizona is Northern Arizona, with multiple cases and deaths reported in Coconino County and the Navajo Nation.

As of Thursday, Flagstaff Medical Center has 33 patients who have tested positive, and 22 more waiting on results. There are also a handful of patients at a hospital in Verde Valley.

Staff members at the hospital are urging everyone to follow social distancing and handwashing guideline, especially with test kits expected to run low.

"We would like to test as many people as we have swabs capability to test, but we should also be doing other things to stop the spread because that’s really going to make a difference if there were no tests," said Dr. John Mougin, Chief Quality Officer with Flagstaff Medical Center.

The hospital has 33 ventilators on hand, with the hope that it will be enough.

If not, they are prepared to make life-and-death decisions.

“We have not we have not made those decisions yet," said Dr. Derek Feuquay, Chief Medical Officer with Flagstaff Medical Center. "I will tell you: if it comes to that, this facility in Cottonwood will be prepared to do what we have to do and the right thing for our patients."

The other issue is protective gear for hospital staff. They are already sterilizing and reusing masks, and making gowns out of construction material.

Meanwhile, at least two staff members have tested positive.

"We are protecting our employees in a lot of creative ways, by having the board make masks to make sure they are protected adequately," said Flo Spyrow, CEO of Flagstaff Medical Center.