Arizona health organizations get creative to fight COVID-19 | Coronavirus in Arizona
PHOENIX (3TV / CBS 5) – As we head into one of the busiest vacation weeks of the season, COVID-19 is straining Arizona hospitals’ resources. And health experts fear it will only get worse.
A medical nonprofit, the Health System Alliance of Arizona, is launching a big advertisement – like a full-page newspaper ad – to clarify just how serious the situation is.
The ad begins by saying, âWe’re doing everything we can. But we need your help. “
Health System Alliance CEO Brittney Kaufmann says it’s not common for her organization to do something like this.
The White House’s senior medical adviser has said the omicron COVID-19 variant “is raging around the world.”
âWe don’t do a lot of advertising,â Kaufmann said. “But the goal was, hopefully, to have some shock value, some awareness.”
Realization that Arizona hospitals are dangerously overcrowded, to the point that some of these medical establishments like Banner Health have had to suspend elective surgeries.
“Our hospitals, our healthcare workers, our nurses, our doctors, too are tired,” Kaufmann said. “But it’s still a problem. COVID is still here, and it’s still real.”
And despite the widespread availability of vaccines, family doctor Dr Andrew Carroll fears it will only get worse.
âWhat really worries me is it’s very similar to last year, where we had a really rapid rise,â Carroll said. “And we’ve had very high five-figure case rates, hospitalizations, and death rates.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously said that the new Omicron variant spreads faster than the still dominant Delta variant.
While documented cases of Omicron in Arizona are still relatively low (with six cases reported in Maricopa County last week), Carroll says that number will inevitably increase. And he says that’s especially true for one particular group.
âThe biggest concern we have with Omicron is with the unvaccinated,â Carroll said. “Of course, it’s going to wreak havoc on this community just as we enter the holiday season and New Years Eve. It really is setting up for disaster.”
The fast-spreading omicron variant may soon leave U.S. doctors without two of the standard treatments they’ve used to fight COVID-19.
Carroll says appointments for vaccines and booster shots increased last week in his office. He and Kaufmann both hope that traveling, seeing family while on vacation, and maybe even this full-screen commercial can convince anyone who’s hesitant to get the shot to take the plunge. If not for themselves, then for healthcare professionals.
âOur goal is really for predictive modeling to show that if we stick with our current hospitalization rates and current COVID transmission rates, we will have a peak in mid-January,â Kaufmann said. “So timing was important, with the Christmas holidays and the New Years holidays to avoid that.”
Kaufmann says if the announcements are successful, his organization will do more. But since this ad campaign costs around $ 30,000, it doesn’t commit to anything yet.
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