PHOENIX — It’s been more than two weeks since Governor Doug Ducey began phased reopening of the state. Since reopening, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals, on ventilators and in ICU beds have all gone up.
Since the phased reopening began on May 11, there has been a 23.5% increase of patients in Arizona hospitals, along with a 8.8% increase of patients on ventilators and 17.6% of patients laying in ICU beds.
"When I look at hospitalizations, there's different pieces of that data that tell you different things," says former director of the Arizona Department of Public Health, Will Humble.
According to the Arizona Department of Public Health, there have been 2,848 people hospitalized for COVID-19 since late January. The number of daily cases rising and falling in the last 4 months.
"We had a pretty steady stream of hospitalizations for 6 weeks really, and there's a slight decline but it's not a decline you can celebrate," says Dr. Humble.
Dr. Humble says that decline could change quickly based on the mass gatherings seen over the holiday weekend due to the two-week incubation time of the virus.
"If these behavior changes are going to result in increases in cases, those are cases and hospitalizations I expect to see in early June."
Humble says the state has yet to reach hospital capacity with a 20% cushion for hospital beds. But if we do, our brief return to normalcy will be short lived.
"If we ever get to the point where we are bumping up against capacity, sound the alarm bell and say maybe we need to go back to a stay at home order," says Humble.