Phoenix (3TV / CBS 5) – According to Banner Health, the number of COVID-19 cases, positive rates, hospitalizations, ICU patients, and ventilator usage are heading in the right direction in Arizona, but not yet out of the woods. “These trends are exactly what we want and we hope they will continue for the next few weeks,” said Dr. Marjorie Bessel, Chief Clinical Officer at Banner Health.
Weather delaying vaccine shipments to Arizona
Immediately after the good news, there was a warning about the winter weather hitting parts of the country. Vaccine supply in Arizona has been restricted since its distribution began, but now there is a new problem that no one can do. the weather.
Vessel said vaccine doses could be even shorter in the coming days as harsh winter weather across the country delays Arizona shipments.
“It affects not only the vaccine, but also the supplies needed to distribute and deliver the vaccine to patients,” Vessel said.
This means that anyone planning to get vaccinated may need to change their schedule.
“If you are a patient and have an upcoming appointment, and you need to change your appointment, you will be asked to continue to monitor either your phone, text message, or email,” Vessel said. I am.
- In the Maricopa, Pinal, and Coconino counties, there are sufficient doses for the rest of the week.
- Gila County is “slightly lacking” in what it needs to cover its current appointments.
- Pima County has enough vaccines for Wednesday and Thursday bookings, but Friday, Saturday and Sunday bookings are “at risk if there is no supply”.
Will Humble, a former director of the Arizona Department of Health, said he was confident that the state and county could make up for the delayed appointment. He is also not worried about the vaccine going bad.
“There is a safeguard in shipping vaccines. Vaccines have a data logger that tracks the temperature as they move from place to place,” says Humble.
Dry ice keeps the vaccine very cold in an insulated box.
“It’s better to be a day or two late than something happens to the cargo because of the weather,” Humble said.
Coconino County said Wednesday had enough vaccine for everyone, but Thursday and Friday the appointment for the first dose had to be canceled and rescheduled. Affected vaccination sites are Fort Tat Hill County Park, Northern Arizona University, Northern Arizona Healthcare / Flagstaff Medical Center (Elks Lodge), and Northern Arizona Healthcare. An estimated 1,800 people are affected by this situation. For more information, please visit: coconino.az.gov/covid19vaccine Alternatively, call the COVID-19 information line. 928-679-7300..
“ADHS is in close contact with federal and local partners to monitor the situation,” said Steve Elliott, a spokesman for ADHS, Wednesday afternoon. “The federal government has delivered 85,800 Pfizer doses to Arizona. And assigned 90,800 Moderna doses, with 176,600 doses planned for the entire state this week. ”Elliott said the dose was sent directly to the provider’s site, so ADHS was about when the dose would arrive. Explains that you have specific information.
At the time of the data release on Wednesday morning Arizona was receiving almost 93% of the vaccine dose I ordered. Over 971,000 people got their first shot. Over 313,000 people have taken both shots. Two shots are required to achieve the best immunity.
Apart from current shipping issues, Vessel has also addressed the difficulty of scheduling appointments to take COVID-19 shots.
“I know this was a frustrating experience for many,” she said, advising people to be patient and asking those who are eligible to keep trying to schedule appointments. “It may take several trials to find an available site for you.” The banner dispensing point, known as POD, is reserved, but as the vaccine dose increases. Will be possible. Launching a federal pharmacy program in Maricopa County and other pop-up vaccination sites should also help move forward.
10% more ICU patients than in “normal winter”
Although the situation is improving, Vessel says the Arizona ICU sees about 10% more patients than “normal winter peaks.”
“Some banner ICUs operate at 150% of the licensed bed capacity,” Vessel said, saying that Banner has enough front-line workers to care for these patients. We have contracts with about 2,000 workers to confirm.
“We expect the decline from this surge to take much longer than the decline from the summer surge,” Vessel said.
Resumption of selective surgery
Due to the surge in the number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital, Banner has stopped non-urgent elective surgery. It happened shortly before Christmas. These surgical restrictions were lifted on Monday. However, the non-visitor policy remains in effect until you are notified later. Vessel said these rigorous guidelines could be relaxed in the coming weeks if our positive rate continues to decline.
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Vessel also tackled everyone’s mental problems: when will things return to normal? She said there is no “clear timeline”, but there are some things that public health professionals are paying attention to.
- The positive rate for the community is less than 5% (as of Wednesday, it was 9%).
- Breeding rate <1
- High vaccination rate
“When all this happens and herd immunity reaches about 70-85%, we may see recommendations from public health professionals regarding the lifting of current restrictions,” she explained.
“We are still in the midst of a pandemic,” Vessel said, reiterating that even vaccinated people should continue to take precautions such as masking and physical distance. “It is important that we remain loyal to science and follow appropriate mitigation, enforcement, and personal accountability.”
“A totally insignificant flu season”
Even if the coronavirus was widespread throughout the winter, the flu, a common major health concern seen at this time of the year, was not a problem.
“Influenza is not as contagious as COVID,” Vessel explained while discussing our “completely insignificant influenza season.” “So all the mitigations we have taken, the implementation of mitigations, and our personal accountability have had a very positive impact on reducing influenza cases.”