One of the purposes of its stay-at-home order, stretching from April 1 to May 15, was to build hospital capacity. The state has a surge plan in place. If facilities are at any risk of being over-topped, elective surgeries can be scaled back or canceled again. Arizona has set up a surge line — an idea borrowed from New York, state officials say — to transfer patients from any overburdened hospitals to other facilities (such transfers would be covered by insurance). An idled hospital called St. Luke’s can be brought back online if necessary, and there are two other alternative care sites in both the north and south of the state that can be used as well, according to state officials.
Just the other day, leaders of Arizona’s hospitals put out a statement: “As representatives of the largest health systems representing 80% of care provided in this state, we would like to assure the public that we have available bed capacity and surge plans are in place to continue to serve the people of Arizona. We are well prepared to manage an increase in patient volume.”
Arizona officials say they have been watching the various models closely, and have paid particular attention to a FEMA model, which, an Arizona official notes, “said Arizona’s spike was going to be in June.”
Given that the coasts, and especially the East Coast, were going to get hit first, it makes sense that Arizona would project to have a later peak.