When Gov. Doug Ducey and top health officials gave Arizona the green light to reopen after being largely closed for multiple months due to the coronavirus, state officials said the hospitals had capacity to treat any current and future COVID-19 patients.
The purpose of the shutdown was, according to officials, to allow the hospitals to build patient capacity and slow the spread of the virus.
The Arizona Department of Health Services has tracked COVID-19 hospitalization data since early April, and in recent days and weeks the number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients admitted to a hospital has climbed. Of the 1,358,154COVID-19 tests in Arizona, 11.6% have yielded positive results as of Sept. 18. This accounts for diagnostic test results, not antibody test results.
Hospital capacity is part of the state and federal governments "gating criteria" that allows a phased reopening. Arizona is in phase one of reopening.
The number of COVID-19 related inpatient hospitalizations was 516 as of Sept. 17, according to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The number of intensive care unit, or ICU, beds in use by COVID-19 patients grew after the state ended its stay-at-home order May 15 and peaked July 13 at 970. As of Sept. 17, the number of ICU beds across the state in use by COVID-19 patients was 130.
The state also tracks the number of positive or suspected COVID-19 seen in emergency rooms across the state. There were 854 COVID-19 emergency department visits reported on Sept. 17, a stark contrast to the peak which appears to have occurred July 7 with 2,008 visits reported.