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St. Luke's hospital in Phoenix to re-open to increase ICU bed capacity

Officials said they hope to have the hospital back open within 30 days to increase the state's ICU bed capacity by 339 beds.

PHOENIX — Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced Thursday that St. Luke’s hospital on East Van Buren Street would re-open within 30 days to increase the state’s ICU bed capacity by 339 beds.

The state and the Army Corps of Engineers surveyed 20 sites to be used as potential overflow hospital space, and St. Luke’s was the most ready of the 20, according to Major General Michael McGuire, who heads the state’s Department of Emergency Management. McGuire and Ducey said they hoped to have the hospital back open within 30 days.

St. Luke’s closed in November because of a lack of patients. The move was supposed to have been permanent, but the coronavirus has increased the need for hospital beds in general, especially ICU beds.

Gov. Ducey said he hoped St. Luke’s would remain empty.

“Our hope is that we never have to use these beds, that our physical distancing measures, travel restrictions, limitations on elective surgeries, and other protective actions will mean fewer infections and less strain on our healthcare system,” Ducey said. “We’re planning for a worst-case scenario. It’s the responsible thing to do in this situation.

Governor Ducey said the state has located a facility in Coconino County to use for additional hospital space and is looking for an additional site in Pima County as well.

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