Tracking COVID-19: Health official believes Arizona is days away from using 'crisis standards of care'

The biggest fear is that we get to a point where hospitals have to decide who gets care because there just aren't enough resources.

Will Humble, the former director of the Arizona Department of Health Services says we might be days away from that point.

After the cough started, Armando Cruz, a healthy 30-year-old, went to Tucson Medical Center on June 18.

"The last thing I remember is falling asleep that Thursday night.. and waking up the following Thursday morning," he said.

Over a week, his family prayed as he was intubated and eventually, on June 29, he was allowed to go home.

"It's tough. I've always been an athlete. I've been in good shape, but carrying a bowl of soup from the kitchen to the table, which is probably about 12 feet at most, feels like I ran a marathon."

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code

His doctor said it may be until the end of August before he gets back to normal.

More than 62,000 of Arizona's 100,000 plus confirmed COVID-19 cases have come from adults younger than 44 years old, and some need hospital beds.

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"You hear so much about the available beds. Okay, a bed is just a bed, doesn't provide treatment. People provide treatment," said Humble.

As Arizona's cases have grown, DHS authorized a crisis standards of care plan.

Humble says now hospitals are preparing for a potential surge by bringing in hundreds of nurses to prevent having to triage patients to see who gets care.

"It's only a matter of days before there's a good likelihood at least in some parts of the state those decisions will have to be made."

Cruz says his team of health care workers was incredible, but was told the unit he was in was already full last month. He hopes it's a wake up call to anyone his age not taking COVID-19 seriously.

"My mortality has come into question quite often," he said.

DHS Director Cara Christ said authorizing the crisis standards of care plan was a proactive measure to help hospitals prepare.

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