People get tested at a drive thru coronavirus testing site at South Mountain Community College, Thursday, July 9, 2020, in Phoenix. State officials also reported 44 additional deaths, pushing the overall count to 2,082, a number that has doubled in the past five weeks.
The overall case count is doubling every two weeks, but shows some signs of stabilizing.
Hospitals in the state are nearing capacity, with 88% of the licensed beds occupied and 89% of the intensive care beds filled. There are about 7,900 licensed beds in Arizona, and hospitals are prepared to increase that number by up to 50% if needed under orders from the state.
Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ said at a news briefing Thursday that the state is taking a number of steps to free up hospital space for new COVID 19 patients. They include providing cash for increased nursing home staffing and personal protective equipment, setting up a system where hospitals can connect with nursing homes and other facilities that have space and providing cash to boost that capacity.
"We know that there’s a lot of people who get really sick from COVID and they may recover enough to not need to be a hospital anymore but they may need to be somewhere else besides going home," Christ said. “Maybe they live with somebody who is high risk, maybe they still need some ongoing care.”
In an interview with The Associated Press, Christ said the state also has re-licensed some hospital areas that can be used as skilled-nursing facilities and is providing cash to hospitals to pay for increased staffing.
The state also has an entire hospital ready […]