Arizona fears bed shortage with elderly, Native American populations at risk

PRESCOTT, Ariz. — State officials here bracing for the impact of the coronavirus pandemic have had weeks to plan for a potential surge in cases, unlike many other U.S. and international hot spots. Now, with the state's peak period of hospitalizations expected to hit next month, officials say they hope that extra time was enough to adequately prepare a hospital system that presently faces a shortage of up to 13,000 beds in a worst-case scenario. "Arizona has benefited from the lessons out of Washington and New York in terms of what patient surge looks like when you don't build out capacity like Arizona has done," said Ann-Marie Alameddin, the president of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. Arizona reported its first death from the disease on March 20 — the day New York City registered its 112 death and Washington state, where the outbreak started in the U.S., its 83 death.

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