Valleywise Health sees increase in COVID cases, mostly in unvaccinated patients

A Valley hospital gave an update on how they're battling the delta variant.

It's back to the future for Valleywise Health Medical Center.

The hospital is back up to two COVID-19 units with 25 patients. Seven of them are on ventilators.

While cases are rising just like they did during the winter, the notable exception is that it's mostly unvaccinated Arizonans who are under the age of 50 who are getting seriously sick.

"We had a 30-year-old die three days ago. A 43-year-old died today. And that doesn't count the two that died a couple of days ago," said Jeremy Naegu, an ICU nurse.

The hospital says the number of children coming in with COVID-19 is still very low. But they anticipate that number to go up like it is in other parts of the country.

The delta variant is considered 2.5 times stronger than previous strains.

"Those folks who arch of chosen not to for whatever reason get the vaccine are the ones being most impacted by the coronavirus and requiring them to be hospitalized," said Dr. Michael White, the Chief Clinical Officer of Valleywise.

Dr. White is urging everyone to wear masks in public and get vaccinated, even if they have the antibodies.

He says the virus variants may be here to stay and a time machine isn't the answer.

"I think a lot of us can't believe we're back here again so we just go about our day and do the best we can and hope for the best," said Kendal Gribler, an ICU nurse.

Dr. White says the hospital is evaluating requiring staff to get vaccinated. He hinted the decision will be coming soon.

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