Multiple Phoenix-area hospitals diverting incoming emergency transports due to influx of patients

With coronavirus cases spiking, especially after the holidays, some valley hospitals are struggling to handle all of the patients.

Banner Health announced that as of the morning of Dec. 29, six of their hospitals have started to divert incoming emergency patients and hospital transports due to the backlog of patients.

While this is clearly an issue for hospitals and patients, it's also something first responders are dealing with as they try to find a hospital that can take an emergency patient.

"Because of the saturation in their emergency room or outlying areas of that hospital, that does not mean that a person cannot go to that hospital. If they're adamant about going to the hospital, we will absolutely take them there. But we will advise them that it will be a significant delay in getting a bed. That being said, if someone is in absolute critical condition, if they're having a heart attack or stroke, something along those lines where they're extremely critical, we will still take them to the closest and most appropriate facility," said Scott Douglas, Phoenix Fire Captain.

Despite hospitals expanding their capacity and staffing to meet the demand of patients during the pandemic, many are currently seeing an influx of patients as COVID cases rise, combined with patients dealing with other emergencies.

On Monday, Banner Health said up to 10 Phoenix-area hospitals went on diversion. As of this morning, six were on diversion.

Dr. Ross Goldberg with the Arizona Medical Association says the entire city is not on diversion, just pockets.

Patients will still be able to receive quality care, and walk-ins will not be turned away.

"It's still a fluid situation. It's not one hospital is on diversion and that's it. They're on diversion for a period of time and then they come off. It's very fluid depending on what's going on inside the hospital, what patients are in there, and what resources we have," Dr. Goldberg said.

While hospital diversions are more common during the winter months, what's unusual is for so many hospitals to be on diversion at the same time.


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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