June 23, 2020 / Modified jun 23, 2020 5:57 p.m.

Pima County nearly out of ICU beds Tuesday, health official says

The county medical director told supervisors on Tuesday morning that the major hospitals had approximately five ICU beds.

This story may be updated.

Pima County was nearly out of intensive care beds for COVID-19 patients on Tuesday, a health official said.

In response to a question about ICU capacity at a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning, Pima County Medical Director Dr. Francisco Garcia said: "It is not good. ... We have, essentially, approximately five usable ICU beds within the large hospitals in Pima County."

Garcia said the county was working to find more beds, and said some may be available at regional medical centers.

"There is some additional capacity that could be brought on board from the VA that requires some federal action. On top of that, there is some capacity, six additional beds, in Santa Cruz [Valley] Regional Hospital down in Green Valley," Garcia said.

But Garcia said it's unclear whether staff is available for the additional beds in the Green Valley hospital.

In an email to AZPM, Banner Health spokesperson Rebecca Ruiz McGill said the bed counts at their hospitals in the state vary every day, multiple times a day, and that, "At some point [Tuesday] morning, both of our hospital ICUs were near capacity."

She said the hospitals currently do have capacity for all patients, including those with COVID-19, and that they have surge plans in place if needed.

The Tucson Medical Center told AZPM in an email they trust Dr. Garcia's number, but noted the availability of ICU beds is always fairly fluid, and that they continue to use the Arizona surge line to ensure they have capacity for patients.

The most recent data on the state's coronavirus tracking website Tuesday said 84% of Arizona's intensive care beds were in use, leaving 266 beds available across the state.

The state set a record for new reported COVID-19 cases Tuesday, at 3,591.

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