PHOENIX — Some hospitals halted elective surgeries Thursday as the number of COVID-19 cases remained on the rise since Republican Gov. Doug Ducey lifted stay-home restrictions in May.
Health officials have attributed the rising number of cases to both increased testing and community spread of the disease. The state Department of Health Services reported 3,056 additional COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the fourth day in a week in which the state had daily increases over 3,000.
The state has seen 63,030 cases with 1,490 deaths, including 27 reported Thursday. The department reported that a record 2,453 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Wednesday, including 611 in intensive care beds and a record 415 on ventilators.
Dignity Health is halting elective surgeries starting Saturday at St. Joseph’s hospital near downtown Phoenix and the smaller Westgate hospital in the West Valley, spokeswoman Carmelle Malkovich said. At hospitals in Chandler and Gilbert, officials are closely watching planned elective surgeries that might result in a hospitalization “and are adapting as needed,” she said.
An official with Honor Health, which operates hospitals in Scottsdale and North Phoenix, said elective surgeries are continuing.
But while Banner Health is continuing elective surgeries, it may pause them later, said Dr. Marjorie Bessel, the hospital system’s chief clinical officer.
“We might need to do a little bit more some weeks if we have capacity, and other weeks, we’re going to have to do a little bit less,” Bessel said in a statement. “It’s going to be a constant managing of the elective surgeries.”
Yavapai Regional Medical Center spokesman said the Prescott hospital was restricting elective procedures and evaluating them daily and also not planning to accept transfers of patients from hospitals in metro Phoenix or elsewhere in Arizona, The Daily Courier reported.
The state on March 19 restricted elective surgeries to save hospital capacity and personal protective equipment for use in treating COVID-19 patients, but on May 1 allowed the procedures to resume as officials said hospitals had enough capacity and the ability to add more beds.