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Arizona hospitals to resume elective surgeries if they remain prepped for CV-19 influx

Hospitals in Arizona that remain prepared for a possible wave of coronavirus patients can resume elective surgeries starting next month, Gov. Doug Ducey said. They will be required keep a two-week supply of personal protective equipment and ensure adequate staffing and beds.

Ducey announced Wednesday afternoon that hospitals in the state will be able to resume non-emergency surgeries on May 1. They have been barred since March 19.

In order to being regular surgery again, hospitals, dentists office and other medical centers will have to meet a list of criteria:

  • Demonstrating greater than a 14-day supply of PPE;
  • Insuring adequate staffing and beds;
  • Testing patients prior to surgery and all at-risk health care workers;
  • Ensuring appropriate discharge plans for patients being transferred to nursing care facilities, including diagnostic testing for COVID-19;
  • Implementing a universal symptom screening process for staff, patients, and visitors;
  • Establishing an enhanced cleaning process for waiting areas;
  • And prioritizing the restart of elective surgeries based on urgency.

The Department of Health Services will have to sign off before each facility can resume elective surgeries.

"Hospitals around the state have stepped up to provide additional protections for their staff and patients and increased bed capacity to prepare for a possible COVID-19 surge," Ducey said in a news release. "Because of these preparations, and the responsible actions of Arizonans across our state, data shows our health system continues to remain ahead of the curve. Today's order continues to prioritize public health while improving access to care for Arizonans and the overall viability of our health care system."

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Ducey at a March 17 press conference in Tucson.