Former Arizona health director talks about rise in COVID-19 cases

Arizona hospitals are bracing for a surge in COVID-19 cases.

St. Joseph’s Hospital announced Thursday that it’s returning to a tiered system for surgeries and procedures starting this Saturday.

Another sign that Arizona is in trouble.

The three states are now coronavirus hot spots are Arizona, Florida and Texas.

Arizona’s curve is much worse than those states, jumping more than 200% over the past month and health care officials say the worst is yet to come.

Public health officials say people mostly in their 20s and 30s are becoming more and more responsible for the spread. Many are up close and personal, not wearing masks and not social distancing. 

RELATED: Gov. Ducey urges Arizonans to stay at home amid rising COVID-19 cases; expect hospital surge capacity

“With the honor system, which is what we had for so long, that’s not enough to change people's behavior," said Will Humble, former Director of Arizona Department of Health Services.

He says Arizona's coronavirus curve now resembles New York back in March and that hospital beds space could hit a critical limit any day now.

"There is enough community spread that we are going to lose our safety margin at the hospital system," Humble explained.

He says the president's recent visit to a crowded church in north Phoenix was not only dangerous but sending the wrong message.

RELATED: Questions over COVID-19 safety linger as North Phoenix church hosts Trump event

"You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see what’s coming. We’re going to surge. I mean there’s no other way to say it," he said.

Humble brings up a couple of hopeful points. One that the young people spreading the virus are less likely to fill up hospital beds, and that if enough of us are wearing masks, hopefully, we will flatten the curve in July.