Mt Graham Regional Medical Center officials announced Monday afternoon that the hospital is at full capacity and soon may not be able to meet the capacity needs of the community.

“MGRMC is currently experiencing unprecedented numbers as a result of the ongoing pandemic and its current spike,” hospital spokesman Ryan Rapier said in a statement.

“Patient levels for non-COVID related issues are currently consistent with this time of year. However, an additional average of 14 COVID-positive patients per day over the last five days in our hospital is effectively doubling our standard patient load.”

On Sunday, 18 people with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 came to the emergency department and another nine people had flu-like symptoms “which can also indicate COVID positivity,” Rapier said.

“MGRMC is at full bed capacity. Again, these numbers are unprecedented. If trends do not change, our hospital will be unable to meet the capacity needs of our community,” Rapier said.

The hospital is grateful to the towns of Pima and Thatcher for unanimously supporting a mask regulation and the Graham County Board of Supervisors for unanimously passing it, Rapier said.

“The hospital’s support of a mask regulation is not politically motivated but rather is rooted strictly in a desire to reduce capacity demands on our hospital, provide the care our community requires, and provide mental and physical relief to a healthcare staff that is being stretched to its limits,” Rapier said.

Graham County has seen a 73 percent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases since Nov. 1.

According to Graham County Health Department, the number of cases rose from 1,281 to 2,215 Nov. 1-Nov. 30. There was a 75 percent increase in the number of patients 20-44, a 69 percent increase in people 65 and older and a 66 percent increase in children.

Eighty-three new cases were diagnosed Nov. 28-Nov. 30.

The positivity rate was 18 percent on Nov. 1. On Nov. 30, the state was reporting a 33 percent positivity rate.

As of Monday morning, there were 16 patients with COVID-19 at Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center, Rapier said.

Because the ongoing surge the hospital reinstituted restrictions and limitations at the hospital on Friday.

According to news release:

Visiting hours will be reduced in the ICU and on the Medical/Surgical floor.

Visitor accessibility to the Emergency Department will be dependent on the volume and acuity of patients currently being cared for in the ED.

All visitors to MGRMC will be required to wear a mask provided by the hospital. No cloth masks are allowed.

“Like the rest of society, the healthcare providers and staff at Mt Graham Regional Medical Center would like nothing better than to adopt a smooth plan of transition that could be followed through to the end of this pandemic: a plan that would provide a clear picture of what can be expected and predictable at each stage of our recovery. Unfortunately, as everyone across the world has experienced over the last 10 months, this is not possible,” the release stated.

Additional information and specifics will be provided to visitors upon arrival at the hospital, the release stated.

“MGRMC truly appreciates the cooperation and understanding of all patients and visitors as the community navigates this current chapter of the COVID-19 pandemic and looks forward to the day when normalcy returns to our valley,” the release said.

As of Sunday, there were 2,513 patients with COVID-19 hospitalized statewide, with 579 in ICUs and 352 on ventilators, according to the state health department.

On Nov. 1, there were 918 patients with the virus in the hospital, 231 were in intensive care and 120 were on ventilators.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there have only been 97 confirmed flu cases so far this flu season.

As of Monday morning, 326,817 Arizonans have been diagnosed with the virus and 6,639 have died.

The statewide positivity rate is 10 percent compared to Graham County’s 33 percent.

More than 13 million Americans have contracted the virus and 265,166 people with it have died since Jan. 21, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

More than 10,000 Americans with COVID-19 have died in the last 10 days, according to the CDC.

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