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YRMC reports increase in hospitalizations, low staff capacity

There's plenty of beds but not enough nurses to treat more patients - News 11's Cody Lee reports

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The fast-moving Omicron variant causing hospitalization numbers to soar to a level we haven’t seen in several months.

At the beginning of the week, around 70 COVID-19 patients were being treated. Friday, it’s jumped to 93.

Keep in mind around five to 15 patients are also being discharged per day.

“In two weeks' time we've gone from in the 60s to 90, right? So the last couple of days we've admitted over 20 per day,” said YRMC chief nursing officer Deb Aders

A rise in COVID hospitalizations at a time when staffing shortages are also a concern.

Staffing in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) only allows up to 32 beds to be used.

“We're pretty well arranged so there really is no bed availability in the ICU,” Aders explained. “In other words, someone has to transfer or discharge before a patient can actually get into the ICU. It’s kind of a swap right now,” she added.

The same goes for the lower level COVID unit and general patient hospital beds. As of Friday afternoon, only four were available.

The hospital is seeing what many other businesses are - more employees getting exposed and even contracting the virus. Nationwide, some healthcare workers are even allowed to continue working while COVID positive, but not at YRMC.

“Whether it's family or kids or whatever that seems to be the exposure. At that point in time. It's not coming from in-house for patients per se. It's actually coming from other locations,” Aders continued.

Which is causing a strain throughout the facility.

“Things might be a little slower, they might have a little bit longer wait times maybe. And just to have a little patience because we're seeing more registration staffing out. It's just taking a little while longer to get things done.”

But when it comes to how severe the patients’ symptoms are… “We’re not seeing the severe respiratory part, as we saw with the Delta,” Aders replied.

Meaning the majority of patients in the hospital are not needing intensive care.

“If you’ve been vaccinated and had your booster you might get admitted but you're actually not going to it's not typical for you to go to the ICU. The point is you may be feeling bad for a couple of days or so but you’re actually able to be discharged back home,” she said.

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Cody Lee

Cody Lee joined 13 On Your Side and KYMA News 11 in March 2020, but he’s no stranger to Arizona. He grew up in the Phoenix area and enjoys everything Arizona has to offer.

You can contact Cody at


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