In a new public health advisory, the Pima County Health Department warns the healthcare system is in danger of becoming overwhelmed within the next two to three weeks if the spread of COVID-19 continues at its current pace.
According to County Health Director Dr. Theresa Cullen, the county is on track to see more coronavirus infections in December than all previous months of the pandemic combined.
The advisory asks for continued adherence to the county’s mandatory mask mandate and 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.
It also asks to limit all gatherings to less than 10 people and that all businesses reduce their occupancy to 25%.
According to the new advisory, the last week has seen multiple instances of zero ICU bed availability and several days where hospital medical-surgical beds have reached capacity.
Tucson Medical Center has canceled its elective surgeries, while emergency departments and hospitals face staff and critical supply shortages.
The health department is asking residents to stay home and minimize activities that involve contact with people outside of their households, stay physically distanced and practice mask-wearing and frequent sanitization.
“This isn’t just about COVID anymore and whether you think it’s a real problem or not. The patients filling these hospitals are absolutely real and if you have a heart attack, or if you get into a car accident, or your appendix bursts, there is a real possibility that you may not get the timely care you need to save your life if we don’t get control of this virus,” Cullen said. “People are dying yet many of those deaths are preventable if the people of this community stay home, wear their masks and avoid people they don’t live with as much as possible.”
The full advisory is below.