MGRMC never suspended emergency plan

SAFFORD —Following steady growth in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state, and Banner Health issuing notice that its ICU bed capacity was nearing, Dr. Cara Crist, director of Arizona Department of Health Services, called for the state’s hospitals to activate their emergency plans.

Mount Graham Regional Medical Center was one step ahead of Crist, having never suspended its plan following the governor’s declaration of emergency in March.

Ryan Rapier, spokesman for the hospital, told Gila Valley Central the hospital remains prepared for an influx of patients should there be an increase in COVID-19 cases in the Gila Valley. He added that there has not yet been discussion on whether cases could be transported to MGRMC from other hospitals that have exceeded capacity.

However, there is one issue hospital administration is keeping a close eye on — whether serious cases can be transported out of the area.

“Our concern is transporting patients out if volume continues to increase at major metropolitan facilities,” Rapier said.

Mount Graham Regional Medical Center is a Level IV trauma center. A Level IV trauma center can provide advanced life support, as well as evaluation, stabilization and diagnosis prior to transfer of a patient to a higher level trauma center.

A Level I trauma center, such as Banner University Medical Center in Tucson, is capable of providing care for every type of injury, as well prevention and rehabilitation.