Pleas for vaccination continue as cases increase
Phoenix-area hospitals to mandate shots for staff; Prescott medical centers ‘monitoring’ situation
One of Arizona’s biggest hospital systems renewed a call Thursday, July 22, for people to get vaccinated, citing an increase in seriously ill COVID-19 patients in just a few weeks.
Dr. Michael White, of Valleywise Health, said those hospitalized because of the virus are “predominantly those that have chosen not to be vaccinated for whatever reason.”
Valleywise doctors were mostly treating people with moderate symptoms, but things changed two weeks ago, White said. Now, patients are coming in acutely ill and unvaccinated. At its main medical center in Phoenix, there are currently a dozen hospitalized, and most of them are in the ICU.
The delta variant, which is more contagious, now likely has a stronger presence in Arizona, White said at a media briefing.
White also pleaded in favor of vaccination on behalf of his staff, who he says are growing weary.
“They are tired from this,” White said. “We do not need to see another large spike within our communities when we have this tool available.”
Valleywise is also discussing mandating its roughly 4,800 employees and 1,500 contracted workers be vaccinated. White said he expects a decision to come soon.
Phoenix-based hospital chain Banner Health recently announced all staff will be required to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1 as a condition of employment.
Ken Boush, director of marketing for Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center, said: “We do not currently require our employees to be vaccinated but we are monitoring the situation closely. As a member of Dignity Health, we remain in close contact with our local and national leadership regarding this topic. Any decision to require the vaccine for employees will be made at a system level and not the local level.”
He added that in addition to establishing vaccination clinics in six YRMC locations, including Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley, the hospital offers the vaccine to patients being discharged from YRMC as well as those present for care in the emergency departments.
At the Prescott VA, “We are maintaining the same as before. We have been offering the vaccine since December and we continue to do so. Nothing is mandated though,” said Mary Dillinger, NAVAHCS Public Affairs officer, adding that the VA is still “offering the free vaccine to veterans, their spouses and caregivers, volunteers and staff.”
Arizona public health officials reported another day of more than 1,000 new cases Thursday. According to the state dashboard, there are 1,174 newly confirmed cases and 10 deaths statewide.
Since the pandemic began, the state has counted 912,653 cases and 18,137 deaths total.
The Arizona Department of Health Services added 47 cases to Yavapai County totals, with no new deaths, on Thursday.
The county has seen 20,344 cases and 534 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
Hospitalizations have also risen slightly to 868 across the state.
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arizona ranks 9th nationwide for seven-day case rate per 100,000 people at 117.2.
Locations to make an Appointment to be vaccinated against COVID-19:
• YRMC: https://www.yrmc.org/support-and-community/covid-19/covid-19-vaccinations
• Spectrum Healthcare: https://www.spectrumhealthcare-group.com/vaccine/ - 877-634-7333
• Yavapai Community Health Services - 928-771-3122
• Community Health Center of Yavapai - 928-583-1000
• In Yavapai County, the Pfizer vaccine is available for 12 and older at CVS, the Little Clinic at Fry’s, Safeway, and other pharmacies – go to www.vaccine.gov to find the one most convenient for your family.
• COVID-19 Information en Español: https://www.azdhs.gov/COVID19/es/index.php
• CDC COVID Data Tracker: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccination-equity
• Myths and Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html.
Courier Editor Tim Wiederaenders contributed to this article.