Arizona becomes new national hot spot for coronavirus cases

Dr. Matt Heinz of Tucson Medical Center discussed the sudden rise in new coronavirus infections.
5:10 | 06/16/20

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Transcript for Arizona becomes new national hot spot for coronavirus cases
about, states across the country reopening, and yet unfortunately some are seeing significant increases in new covid-19 cases. Arizona has become the new national hotspot for the virus, withn an explosion of new cases. Pushing some hospitals to the limit. Joining me now with more is Matt Hines, I understand you were just in the middle of treating covid-19 patients when you took a quick break to talk with us. As you're treating these patients, what do you think is behind this sudden rise in infections? I think, and Amy, thanks for having me -- I think it's unmistakable of the reopening of my state of Arizona back on may 15th really did precipitate that rise, the start to this surge, about three weeks after the reopening, which is exactly what you would expect based on a virus and based on its behavior, couple weeks to have folks mingle, spread the infection and then you end up with a week of symptoms to the point where folks start to need hospital and that's when the hospitalizations increase. All of that started almost started in my experience on June 3rd and 4th, about 21 days after we reopened the state. So I think that has a lot to do with it. What are you seeing, doctor, from people coming into the hospital? What condition are they in? Wide range. Wide range. Folks in their mid to low-20s, all the way up to folks in the 80s. Sometimes the folks in their 20s don't do well. Unfontly, you know, I know that we've lost patients recently in that age range. The virus really -- we can't predict who's going to have that really adverse respiratory collapse that -- we don't really know who's going to be affected by it. Generally moreso folks with other conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, but we can't be sure. A higher volume is coming in the door, for sure, and some of these people are very sick. I'm curious about the toll it's taking on you and your staff but other people who have to use the hospital for noncovid-19 related emergencies. Right, absolutely, and that's the real danger. If we truly get to the point, we're very close, you know, very few hospital icu beds in southern Arizona right now, but if we max out those icu beds in any region, then folks coming in having a massive heart, or having a massive stroke or any other very serious condition, won't have an icu bed. This isn't just about covid. This is so important for people to understand. Putting on that mask and social distancing and staying home and watching a movie instead of actually going to a movie, which you can now do in my state, would be so much better to help everyone and help our hospitals and communities to treat everyone who needs help. What has your day been like, comb paired three weeks ago until now, what is it like from start to finish? Overall volume is up as I mentioned. These people are just really sick. You know, there's a lot of stuff going on with them at the same time. We have to do a lot of balancing and a lot of intensive work and we have to dit quickly, so it's -- there's a lot going on and the regular folks that are having heart attacks and strokes and every other thing they're all still coming in, too, so it's on top of that and it's -- you know, it's a lot. Definitely, the volume is one of the biggest deals I think that we're seeing here in terms of my shift, I work overnight, so I've been up for a long time and I'll be going to bed here in a couple of hours. It's hard to imagine the hours and the days and the weeks that you all have been putting in, and the months you've been putting in to try and help all of us to deal with an overwhelming pandemic. I'm curious about your answer to this, should what's happening there in your state of Arizona be a big warning sign to other states? Absolutely. And New York -- New York should have been a major warning sign for us in Arizona. I guess every state is going to have to go through these mistakes themselves. It doesn't have to be this way. We could get some, you know, rules for compulsory mask wearing in public spaces right now. We can have regions of the state, maybe look at some modified new stay-at-home order, we can actually make sure that our icus don't get overwhelmed and beyond capacity, putting the entire community and state at risk. I truly hope our leaders will do that. It's not too late to slow the spread. Dr. Heinz, thank you for all that you're doing. So nice to have you with us. We're so appreciative of you and your staff. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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