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Hospitals and outpatient surgical centers in Arizona may resume elective surgeries for patients if they can prove they are prepared for any potential influx of COVID-19 cases beginning May 1, according to Gov. Doug Ducey.

The governor suspended elective surgeries March 19.

Ducey considers the healthcare change his first step in “increasing the energy” of the state’s economy, though it comes with some criteria from the Arizona Department of Health Services:

  • Demonstrating greater than a 14 day supply of PPE;
  • Ensuring 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.

Facilities will need to receive approval from DHS before resuming 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 statement. “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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