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Arizona health director urges residents to get vaccinated as COVID-19 deaths rise

Dr. Richard Carmona shares startling unvaccinated mortality rates and hospital shortages throughout the state.

PHOENIX — Arizona’s top public health advisor Dr. Richard Carmona says 4 out of 5 people that die from COVID-19 are not vaccinated.  

On Tuesday, Arizona health officials announced 203 new deaths and 2,168 new cases. The newly reported single-day deaths are the second-highest number since February.

“The person not getting vaccinated is putting themselves at risk and others,” Dr. Carmona said. 

“We know that vaccines save lives, we know that vaccines are the ticket to stop the pandemic and return to our economy”

Carmona along with Gov. Doug Ducey’s Office and chief medical officers are working on a plan to provide relief to hospitals in both urban and rural areas. The needs are not identical and range from staffing shortages to equipment availability, according to Carmona.  

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Health officials said rural hospitals are usually not prepared for complex cases and rely on transporting those patients to larger hospitals. One of the issues larger hospitals are experiencing is a backlog in discharging patients that require long term care, Carmona said.

The state is close to declaring a crisis standard of care that would delay elective procedures, Carmona explained. Each state is experiencing their own limitations in the fight against the virus and as a result are not able to aid each other.

If the current issues persist during and after the holidays as a last resort the National Guard could also be deployed to the state as well as other federal resources such as FEMA and HHS.

“There’s not a week that’s gone by where we haven’t seen an American and even an Arizonan patient critically ill and or dying and then asking for a vaccine at that point,” Carmona said.

Nearly 64% of Arizona has been vaccinated against the virus. 

Dr. Carmona noted the need for people to educate themselves and block out negative influencers arguing against vaccinations and encouraging unproven methods of treatment like Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine. 

“It’s hurting all of us”, Carmona said.

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