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Posted on: November 24, 2021

Cochise County Hospitals Experiencing an Increase in Patients, Due Current COVID-19 Surge

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Local Hospitals are Struggling to Transfer Out Non-COVID Patients Needing Higher Levels of Care


Today, the Cochise County Healthcare Alliance (CCHA) met for an emergency meeting to discuss the current state of what County hospitals are experiencing within their facilities. 

Due to the current COVID-19 surge, Cochise County hospitals are experiencing an increased number of patients being hospitalized. Local hospitals are low on resources, struggling with nurse shortages, and are experiencing high wait times for non-COVID patients to be transferred out to larger hospitals for higher levels of care. 

The Cochise County Healthcare Alliance (CCHA) comprised of the Cochise County Health Department, local hospitals, and additional community partners, met to provide updates, collaborate on resource needs, and find solutions to help aid the current situation. 

During the hospitals' update portion of the meeting, local hospitals expressed their needs for additional support with patient care and transfers. Wait times for non-COVID patients to be transferred to larger hospitals in Tucson are averaging between 48-96 hours. Benson Community Hospital is experiencing line holds when trying to initiate a transfer for non-COVID patients, and Copper Queen Hospital is also struggling to transfer patients, while 40 percent of their bed utilization is taken up by COVID-19 patients. 

“The situation is grim,” says Cochise County Health Director, Alicia M. Thompson. “Every person in our community who has chosen not to be vaccinated can help by knowing how to stay out of the Emergency Room. When you are diagnosed with COVID-19, ask your Primary Care Provider about receiving one of the therapeutics to keep you from experiencing severe disease. Don’t wait until you are so sick you have to go to the ER,” added Thompson. “Get the treatment as soon as possible after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Our hospitals are at the tipping point and need our residents’ help to avoid having to go to crisis standards of care. Please do your part.”

The overall concern shared by the Health Alliance is the current situation worsening over the holidays. Cochise Health and Social Services urge residents to continue to follow safety mitigations such as masking up in public indoor settings, physically distancing, frequently washing hands, getting tested, and getting vaccinated as soon as possible.

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