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Health officials: COVID-19 surge filling Cochise County hospitals

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Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 5:23 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Because of the current COVID-19 surge, hospitals in Cochise County are seeing a rise in patience as they experience a shortage of resources and staffing.

The Cochise County Healthcare Alliance met on Wednesday, Nov. 24 to discuss the state of hospitals in the area and find solutions for the problems they face.

During the emergency meeting, local hospitals said they needed more help with patient care and transfers. They said wait times averaged between two and four days for non-COVID patients needing to be transferred to larger hospitals in Tucson.

Benson Community Hospital reported line holds when trying to transfer those patients. Copper Queen Hospital said 40% of its beds are taken up by COVID patients, and they are also struggling with patient transfers.

Cochise County Health Director Alicia M. Thompson said the situation is “grim.” She urged unvaccinated residents who are diagnosed with COVID to seek treatment as soon as they receive positive test results.

“Every person in our community who has chosen not to be vaccinated can help by knowing how to stay out of the Emergency Room,” she was quoted as saying in a news release. “When you are diagnosed with COVID-19, ask your Primary Care Provider about receiving one of the therapeutics to keep you from experiencing severe disease. Don’t wait until you are so sick you have to go to the ER.”

Alliance members say they fear that conditions will worsen over the holidays and urge residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible, mask up in indoor settings, practice social distancing and wash hands frequently.

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