/ Modified jan 2, 2021 8:32 a.m.

Health officials: Arizona COVID-19 triage care again likely

Surging Coronavirus cases crowding intensive care units.

360 banner covid A handout image from Banner Health shows a health care worker in one of the hospital's COVID-19 units.
Banner Health

Arizona health care leaders say hospitals may soon have to make tough decisions about the treatment of COVID-19 patients amid surging cases of coronavirus infection that are crowding intensive care units.

The state’s largest hospital chain, Phoenix-based Banner Health, suspended elective surgeries starting Friday to free up capacity for treating COVID-19 patients.

Banner Health’s chief clinical officer says triage may soon be necessary if the volume of cases continues to grow. Under triage protocols, patients less likely to suffer organ failure and more likely to live longer are put first in line for treatment. Arizona was the first state following the virus outbreak to adopt the triage protocols for a period in July before cases declined.

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