PHOENIX — The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association is advising residents to take the pandemic seriously before hospitals run out of resources to treat COVID-stricken patients.
In a statement released on Monday, the nonprofit urged citizens to get vaccinated and to continue wearing masks as local hospitals continue to see its COVID-19 cases increase each day.
"It is clear Arizona is experiencing another major surge in pandemic-related hospitalizations," the association stated. "Hospitals are once again at, nearing or over capacity."
The number of daily COVID-related hospitalizations in Arizona tripled between June and August, according to the state Department of Health Services.
The usage of hospital ICU beds for COVID-19 infections has been rising steadily since early July, health data shows.
But the association claims Arizona's public data doesn't illustrate a complete picture of the crisis that's happening within the state's hospitals.
The state's dashboard doesn't include “bed deficits,” the association warned, which would show how many intensive care patients are being treated in overflow units because there are no ICU beds available.
"We understand that after a year and a half people are tired of the virus, but the virus is not tired of us," the association wrote. "It will continue to replicate until we all do our part."
The association represents healthcare facilities throughout the state and lobbies on their behalf to state politicians.
When Gov. Doug Ducey began lifting the state's pandemic-related restrictions back in March, the association advised against it and argued that the governor's actions were premature.
Now, the group of medical professionals is hoping residents will continue to be vigilant about keeping COVID-19 cases low in Arizona.
"We know vaccines work. We know wearing a mask and physically distancing works for those who haven’t or are unable to get the vaccine—and it works to further stop the spread even in those who have been vaccinated," the association stated.