How to help Phoenix internal medicine with the new Zika virus
The Phoenix Health District is in a delicate situation as the virus spreads rapidly in Arizona and neighboring states.
As the city prepares to reopen, the city’s internal medicine department is scrambling to get more patients to the emergency room.
Many of the patients who have been admitted in recent weeks are in serious or critical condition.
“If we don’t get them in the emergency department right away, we could see an increase in our admissions, which would put us at a greater risk of developing a new pandemic,” Dr. Mike Vlachos, director of Phoenix Internal Medicine, told Al Jazeera.
“We don’t know how much longer we’re going to be able to sustain that level of patient influx.”
Vlacos said he has been coordinating with the state Department of Health to ensure the emergency rooms are able to handle the surge in patients.
“That’s a challenge, especially if you’re dealing with a virus that’s very contagious, like the Zika virus,” he said.
“I think we’re doing well, but it’s a matter of making sure we’re able to treat the patients as quickly as we can.”
As of Thursday, the district had received 7,542 new admissions for the month of May, compared to 7,100 admissions the month before.
It has seen a similar surge in admissions during the last week of April.
“The numbers that we’re seeing are so alarming,” Vlackos said.
The Phoenix Public Health Department said the hospital’s admission numbers were similar to those recorded last year, when the city saw more than 1,100 new cases of the virus.
But there were significant differences.
“This year, we’ve had a higher proportion of patients who are being admitted because of the coronavirus.
In April, we had a slightly higher proportion, but there’s no indication of that this year,” Vlatkos said.
Vlakis said he believes the rise in admissions is a result of the city having a large number of patients at its emergency room and hospital, where he can focus on treating patients who require additional care.
“It’s hard to keep the emergency departments at capacity because they have to be staffed up, they have all kinds of additional procedures that need to be done,” he explained.
“So we’re getting a little bit more people that need care at a time where we can get them through to a facility that’s more appropriate.”
The district is already dealing with the issue of patients with severe illnesses and severe complications.
The district said on Thursday that it has received 1,564 new cases in May.
The number of cases is up from the same period last year.
Vlaszos said the number of hospitalizations has also increased dramatically in the last two weeks.
“Our patients are getting more sick, more often, and we’re having to put additional pressure on the hospital to meet the needs of those patients,” he told Alja.
“And that’s causing a lot of concern.”