Dr. Michael White, of Valleywise Health, said those hospitalized because of the virus are "predominantly those that have chosen not to be vaccinated for whatever reason."
Valleywise doctors were mostly treating people with moderate symptoms, but things changed two weeks ago, White said. Now, patients are coming in acutely ill and unvaccinated. At its main medical center in Phoenix, there are currently a dozen hospitalized, and most of them are in the ICU.
The delta variant, which is more contagious, now likely has a stronger presence in Arizona, White said at a media briefing.
White also pleaded in favor of vaccination on behalf of his staff, who he says are growing weary.
"They are tired from this," White said. "We do not need to see another large spike within our communities when we have this tool available."
Valleywise is also discussing mandating its roughly 4,800 employees and 1,500 contracted workers be vaccinated. Phoenix-based hospital chain Banner Health recently announced all staff will be required to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1 as a condition of employment. White said he expects a decision to come soon.
Arizona public health officials reported another day of more than 1,000 new cases Thursday. According to the state dashboard, there are 1,174 newly confirmed cases and 10 deaths. Since the pandemic began, the state has counted 912,653 cases and 18,137 deaths total.
Hospitalizations have also risen slightly to 868.
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arizona ranks 9th nationwide for a seven-day case rate per 100,000 people at 117.2.
Meanwhile, the percentage of the state’s vaccine-eligible population who have actually gotten at least partially vaccinated continues to hover around 51%. More than 6.7 million doses have been administered to date. Over 3.6 million have received at least one dose and over 3.3 million are fully vaccinated.
More coronavirus news
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- Rising COVID-19 numbers show a 'pandemic among the unvaccinated,' Arizona health experts say
- All Banner Health employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 1, CEO says
- Pfizer vaccine 88% effective against delta variant, study finds
- Biden says pandemic goes on for unvaccinated, shots 'gigantically important'
- Study: J&J COVID-19 vaccine significantly less effective against delta variant
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
Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu.
Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.
To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.
And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.
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