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Banner Health: More than 90 percent of COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated

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TUCSON (KVOA) - More than 90 percent of COVID-19 patients in Banner Health hospitals are unvaccinated and two-thirds of patients are between ages 20 and 65. That is a far cry from this time last year when a majority of cases were in the 65-plus age group.

In the hospital's weekly virtual update, Banner Health Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Marjorie Bessel said the hospital is very busy taking care of both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.

The hospital has taken steps to ensure a supply of oxygen and other critical supplies. It has also hired hundreds of traveling nurses to ensure adequate staffing this fall.

Bessel said Banner Health has seen an uptick in the number of pediatric patients. Last month, 412 kids were admitted with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19. That was higher than July.

The hospital also saying it is starting to see a plateau in the surge.

"We see some signs that our numbers are not increasing over the next week or so, but we do see some signs ICU beds are increasing," Bessel said.

Bessel also said the vaccine is working to reduce the most serious symptoms of COVID-19.

She urges the public to do their part and get vaccinated, especially as we head into flu season. Bessel said they are already seeing cases of respiratory syncytial virus, and this is a little early in the year for that.

Banner employees have until November first to get fully vaccinated.

Shelle Jackson

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