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 the days and weeks that followed, the number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients admitted to a hospital soared—reaching a peak in July before decreasing for a period of time but is increasing day-by-day now. Of the 2,605,792 COVID-19 tests in Arizona, 11.9% have yielded positive results as of Dec. 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.

The number of COVID-19 related inpatient hospitalizations was 3,931 as of Dec. 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 Dec. 17, the number of ICU beds across the state in use by COVID-19 patients was 915. That is a 682% increase from Sept. 29, when it stood at 115.


The state also tracks the number of positive or suspected COVID-19 cases seen in emergency rooms across the state. There were 2,107 COVID-19 emergency department visits reported on Dec. 17. This metric has been on the rise since October.