Hospital officials warn of COVID-19 increase in Arizona

Healthcare officials are sending a message of caution as COVID-19 cases, specifically ICU cases, are rising in Arizona.

"We have seen a steady climb of COVID-19 cases in Arizona over the last two weeks. This trend is concerning to us, and also correlates with a rise in cases that we are seeing in our hospital ICUs," Officials with Banner Health said on Twitter Monday afternoon.

Continuing, "Since May 15, ventilated COVID-19 patients have quadrupled. Banner Health also recently reached capacity for patients receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment."

Banner Health is the largest, most widespread health care system in Arizona, as well as the state's biggest employer.

RELATED: Nearly 1,500 new Arizona COVID-19 cases reported; attributed to 'pre-pandemic' behavior

The hospital reminds everyone to continue practicing behaviors that have been proven to slow the spread of COVID-19 such as washing hands for at least 20 seconds, social distancing yourself and to wear a mask when you're in public around others.

Meanwhile, Honor Health's Network Chief Medical Officer, Stephanie Jackson, says COVID-19 patients account for about 40% of their ICU beds.

"I think there is an alarm to be raised, and that's the number of hospitalizations for COVID is increasing," said Jackson. "We are not constrained on bed capacity and ventilator capacity, but we are concerned, and we need the public's help to follow the social distancing guidelines."

On the Arizona Department of Health Service's website, it is indicated that ICU hospital bed usage in Arizona is approaching 80%.

"We are concerned by seeing the increased cases and increased positivity, so we do monitor what our bed status is and those types of things. We are going to be aggressively encouraging people to make sure they’re taking steps," said Dr. Cara Christ with DHS.

Former DHS head Will Humble says he is concerned Arizona could see another spike.

"We’ll see in the coming days," said Humble. "If we see another spike like we saw after Memorial Day weekend, it could be attributable to the protest. I'm hoping that the fact that most of the protesters were wearing masks, and the fact that this was an outdoor environment may have a mitigating effect, but that's just a hope. That's not a promise."

You can stay updated on the state's cases and deaths here.

20 March 2020, North Rhine-Westphalia, Recklinghausen: There is an empty bed in the intensive care unit of Prosper Hospital. Due to the spread of the coronavirus and the increase in the number of cases, elective procedures are currently being postpon