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Health care workers plead with Arizonans to listen to science: 'COVID-19 is dangerous and deadly'

"If you do one simple thing, we can have hundreds less ICU beds taken up," Banner Health OBGYN Hospitalist Dr. Dionne Mills said.

PHOENIX — COVID-19 cases continue to run rampant across the state. 

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there are 128,097 confirmed cases and 2,337 Arizonans have lost their fight with the virus as of Tuesday. Each of those cases and deaths take a toll on health care workers. 

Since last week, the number of positive cases has drastically increased by 36,512 cases. 

The state is reporting more than 5,942 hospitalizations with 88% of ICU beds and 85% of inpatients beds in use. 

In a Twitter video shared by Arizona state Sen. Victoria Steele, Tucson Medical Center's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Clifford Martin said, "There's a disconnect with what people in the community are experiencing and what healthcare workers here on the front line are experiencing." 

The virus has taken a toll on healthcare workers across the state. In the same tweet, Steele announced the state will be sending 75 ICU trained personnel and crisis counselors to Tucson Medical Center to help staff with the "emotional trauma they're enduring day after day."

"You don't just stop taking care of a patient because a whistle blows or it's that time of day or you need to go punch out," said hospital physician Dr. Matthew Heinz. "That goes for the nurses and the doctors and everyone involved."

Heinz often works 10-hour overnight shifts as the flood of COVID-19 patients continues to infiltrate hospitals. 

"We're working longer hours because people are sicker," Heinz said.

But it's not just the public getting sick. Physicians and nurses are also fighting to stay healthy.

On Monday while delivering a message to Gov. Doug Ducey to hold the start of schools across the state, Banner Health OBGYN Hospitalist Dr. Dionne Mills reminded those in attendance that the virus has been deadly to healthcare workers, including her own family. 


"So many of our brothers and sisters in medicine have been killed because of their exposure to people who didn't have to get sick, including my cousin Debbie Anne Stewart, a devoted nurse who watched over 40 of her patients die before succumbing to the virus herself," said Mills.  

Medical professionals, according to Mills, should not have to prove the reality of COVID-19 to the community. 

She says there is no other side. The virus is deadly but preventable if people will take responsibility for themselves and others. 

"If you do one simple thing, we can have hundreds less ICU beds taken up, and way less techs and nurses and everybody exposed, dead, dying, or sick," she said.

State health care workers want the public to listen to science, wear a mask, and social distance when around other people. She also says just because a hospital bed is available it may not be the right one for a COVID-19 patient and the bed itself could limit necessary medical interventions. 

Mills also wants the public to know the virus impacts all people. She says many of her pregnancy patients sick with COVID-19 are in their 20s and 30s.



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