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YRMC hits highest COVID-19 hospitalizations, hospital understaffed


AZ surge line transfers slowing down as hospital ICU beds across the state near capacity

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) has seen a significant decline in the volume of emergency room and general visits.

However, the number of ICU and COVID-19 unit patients are higher than ever before.

The Arizona surge line’s transfer system is jammed up, as ICU beds across the state quickly near capacity.

Arizona COVID-19 cases skyrocketing to the 10th highest in the nation.

Machele Headington, Vice President of marketing & communications at YRMC said, “That doesn’t mean we can't make any transfers but the criteria for which keeping patients closer to home, I think we’re just watching that more stringently.”

The Arizona Department of Health Services expected peaks to fluctuate statewide, freeing up ICU bed space in different areas at alternating times.

However, while YRMC claims to have flexibility when it comes to bed space, Tuesday’s Yuma County COVID-19 update indicates both of the hospitals 42-bed COVID-19 units are full, and COVID ICU beds are at 76% capacity.

That number is constantly changing daily.

Headington said, “We converted our entire ICU into a COVID ICU, and then we opened up another area of the hospital so that all non-COVID ICU patients are in a completely separate area."

Hospital staff remains spread thin.

“For us, the significant need right now are respiratory therapists, laboratory, our lab is working 24-hours a day, and then the ICU nurses. That’s a specialty that you can't just plug any nurse in, so you want to make sure you have the right skill set and we are recruiting.”

Headington says YRMC is slowly receiving support from staffing agencies and the federal government.

But as Governor Doug Ducey shared Monday, the next couple of weeks will be very tough for all across Arizona.

YRMC has delayed elective surgeries to open up more inpatient beds and to also reserve nurses and doctors to care for COVID-19 patients.

Article Topic Follows: Arizona Coronavirus

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Aziza Shuler

Aziza Shuler joined KYMA in March 2019 wearing many hats including the newest anchor and producer for FOX 9, as well as a multi-media journalist for KYMA.


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