Hospital bed availability in Arizona low due to coronavirus

Health officials in Arizona reported 7,748 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Dec. 21 and one new death.

The figures bring the total number of cases to 461,345 since the pandemic began and 7,792 deaths, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers

COVID-19-related hospitalizations continue to surpass what Arizona saw during the summer surge with 3,925 hospitalizations reported as of Monday. Only 8% of all hospital beds and ICU beds were available and not in use.

Several healthcare organizations urged Gov. Doug Ducey last week to implement stricter measures to control the spread of the coronavirus as vaccines are being distributed mostly to frontline workers and amid holiday celebrations.

Among the requests are to close bars and nightclubs, limit restaurants to outside dining and take-out service, implement a statewide enforceable mask mandate and limit public gatherings to 25 people.

"The healthcare system is overwhelmed and on the brink of considering the need to implement crisis standards of care," the letter read. "We also face the reality that we will likely run out of available staff to care for patients who need our help."

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code

The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, the Arizona Public Health Association, the Maricopa County Medical Society, the Arizona Medical Association, the Arizona Organization of Nurse Leaders and the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association signed the letter.

MORE: Local hospitals having a hard time with ICU bed capacity and staffing amid new COVID-19 surge

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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

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Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Dignity Health activates COVID-19 vaccination pod at Chandler Gilbert Community College

More Arizona frontline healthcare workers will receive the COVID-19 vaccine as Dignity Health has set up a vaccine pod at Chandler Gilbert Community College.

Arizona to receive more than 119K Moderna COVID-19 vaccines

The Grand Canyon State will receive more than 119,000 COVID-19 Moderna vaccines between Dec. 21-23. They'll be disbursed among Arizona's 15 counties.

UK man who attended school in Arizona talks new COVID-19 lockdowns amid new strain of virus

A man who attended school in Arizona talks about UK lockdowns amid a COVID-19 surge and new strain of the virus. His girlfriend is from Arizona and is visiting London for the holidays.