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Northern Arizona hospitals to reach capacity for COVID-19 patients Saturday
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Northern Arizona hospitals to reach capacity for COVID-19 patients Saturday

From the A collection of the Daily Sun's coronavirus coverage series
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Feeding The Helpers

Diablo Burger general manager Walker Chancellor carries a dozen donated meals into the west campus of Flagstaff Medical Center Thursday afternoon to feed staff working in the Humphreys Unit.

Both Northern Arizona Healthcare, which operates Flagstaff Medical Center, and Tuba City Regional Health Care will reach critical care capacity by Saturday due to care of COVID-19 patients, Coconino County officials said Friday.

Marie Peoples, County Incident Commander and Deputy County Manager, said in an update to the Board of Supervisors that with both organizations’ intensive care units (ICUs) and critical care areas nearly full, the County is now looking to declare a crisis of care emergency and seek assistance from the National Guard.

“We are going to need alternative care sites to be able to handle the medical surge that we’re already seeing and that we anticipate,” Peoples said.

The situation was communicated to the County on Friday morning in an emergency call between the two health care organizations and representatives from the County’s Emergency Operations Center. Declaring a health emergency will require the County to work directly with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to determine the scope of the situation, such as the number of existing beds and remaining ventilators.

In an interview with KAFF News on Thursday, Northern Arizona Healthcare CEO Flo Spyrow said the Flagstaff and Verde Valley facilities were at 60 percent capacity.

According to the County's coronavirus website, there are 55 confirmed cases in the county as of Friday, with 19 in Flagstaff and 12 in Page. There have been 324 negative tests and results are pending on 136 tests. The state of Arizona is up to 665 confirmed cases.

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