There's now an elective surgery backlog in Arizona due to pandemic

On Friday, May 1, elective surgeries will be allowed again at Arizona hospitals after being on hold since March during the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, there's a backlog of people trying to get those surgeries.

From his living room, a Valley man named Stephen told FOX 10 that he needs a new hip and knee.

"I can’t walk without it," he said. "It will take me, if your twenty feet away from me with the cane, it will take me a couple minutes to get to you because your steps are very, very small and it’s actually very, very painful."

His surgery, technically considered elective, was set for March, the day after Governor Doug Ducey halted all elective surgeries to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for the state's response to COVID-19.

"What are you going to do? There’s really no choice here," he remarked.

On Saturday, the former head of the Arizona Department of Health Services, Will Humble, said a key provision to opening up elective surgeries was that hospitals must have at least a 2 week supply of PPE on hand to conduct elective surgeries.

"As we know, the stay-at-home order has been working really well and we're in no danger of exceeding our hospital capacity in Arizona," Humble said.

Stephen’s surgery will have to wait even longer though because surgeries were cancelled for more than a month and there’s now a backlog.

He’s been rescheduled for June 16th. He said me although the pain is very bad, he hopes the extra weeks will mean he has less of a chance of catching the coronavirus at the hospital.

"They told me to wear a mask to the surgery and that made me feel kinda like 'Wow,' and they told me to boost my immune system," he said.

For more COVID-19 coverage in Arizona, visit