With surge in COVID-19 cases, Arizona healthcare workers are exhausted, stressed

Governor Ducey announced new shutdowns on Monday, June 29 for things like gyms and bars, but some in the healthcare field say that's not enough to stop Arizona's rising COVID-19 numbers.

"The steps that the governor has taken, they are steps in the right direction, but we don't nearly go far enough as a state," said Dr. Natasha Bhuyan.

Dr. Bhuyan is a family physician at One Medical in Phoenix. She says some healthcare professionals believe high-density businesses, things like restaurants and casinos, need to be shut down again to stop the spread and they want to see even more testing.

"We're not nearly testing enough people. Our lab turnaround times are increasing. We're seeing long lines for tests. We're also not seeing enough contact tracing so there is a lot we could be doing in Arizona to curb the spread. We are not doing enough right now," Bhuyan said.

Bhuyan and others believe more drastic measures could also help alleviate rising hospitalizations and admittance into ICUs. 

The Arizona Department of Health Services says 89 percent of ICU beds are currently in use, a new record set on July 1.

"My unit is completely full. We're looking at options for expanding beds in other parts of the hospital that we would not normally use," ICU nurse, Brittany Schilling said.

Schilling is a nurse who volunteered to work at a Phoenix hospital ICU treating COVID-19 patients.

"We're really in a tight spot right now because even if we're able to make some beds available, we do not have the nursing staff to be able to take care of those patients," Schilling said. "Just throughout the day you'll see nurses, some of the strongest nurses that I've ever met just breaking down whether its something that happened or something that breaks the camel's back, so we're exhausted."

Schilling, the ICU nurse FOX 10 spoke to said something they've noticed in their ICU is that patients are now skewing younger. She says the majority of people in there right now are from 20 to 45 years old.


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