Omicron variant and ICU bed shortage causes concern for local health resources

The variant and upcoming holiday gatherings pose problems for local health facilities – Luis Lopez of 13 On Your Side reports

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) – With COVID-19 continuing to pose a public health threat, local health centers are seeing a new twist and the holiday season. The Regional Center for Border Health in Somerton says many locals are receiving COVID tests. However, the numbers that have become known give cause for concern.

Locals have been tested since Thanksgiving weekend, and the center has seen an increase in their positivity rate. On average, the center tests about 500 people a day, with a typically positive rate of about 10 percent being noted. In the past few days, however, that number has risen to around 18 to 20 percent.

Center President and CEO Amanda Aguirre says that when her nurses test people, they also advise those who come by to get their syringe as well. All the more so since the Omicron variant is now a threat.

“We want to encourage people to get vaccinated because even if this variant comes into this community, they will be better protected,” said Aguirre.

The vaccination rates are increasing in both counties in the southwest of the desert. Yuma is at 72% while Imperial hit 92% according to the Covid Act Now.org. However, despite the vaccination numbers, the Yuma Regional Medical Center is seeing an increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions.

Chief Nursing Officer Deborah Aders says most of those who have contracted COVID are unvaccinated.

“It’s the 30-year-olds, 40-year-olds, 50, mostly mostly, they are mostly unvaccinated. Those who end up in intensive care are almost 100% unvaccinated, so we expect them to gain a little more weight, “Aders said.

Experts still say the best way to avoid contracting COVID-19 is to get vaccinated.

Leave a Comment