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FMC Has Capacity To Treat Patients Despite Continued COVID Surge

Ryan Heinsius

Local health officials recently said Flagstaff Medical Center had reached capacity in several departments amid the continued COVID-19 surge. But according to the hospital, it still has plenty of room to treat patients. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Last Friday, Coconino County Health and Human Services reported FMC had zero capacity in its intensive care unit as well as its emergency department and surgical and medical wings. But according to hospital officials, the numbers reported only represented a brief snapshot in time, and that beds opened up a short time later that day.

FMC’s chief medical officer, Dr. Derek Fuequay, says the hospital is as consistently busy as he’s ever seen it, but treating far fewer COVID patients than past surges.

"We are super busy, but we can take care of you. Don’t be deterred to seek care because you think it is too busy or you think that you’re going to come to the hospital and catch COVID here or something like that. We’re here to take care of you, we can do it, don’t forego care," Dr. Feuquay says.

According to Dr. Feuquay, emergency room and other wait times are longer and some other care at FMC could be delayed. But he says the hospital isn’t anywhere close to rationing patient care, nor is it near the point of having to put its surge capacity plan in place.

Hospitalizations statewide have spiked since July, but are still less than half of the peak pandemic numbers seen in early January.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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