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Mohave County reports more COVID-19 patients on ventilators

Mohave County Public Health Director Denise Burley talks to the Mohave County Board of Supervisors about the coronavirus pandemic. (Miner file photo)

Mohave County Public Health Director Denise Burley talks to the Mohave County Board of Supervisors about the coronavirus pandemic. (Miner file photo)

KINGMAN – There’s an increase in the number of ventilators in use to treat COVID-19 patients in Mohave County, county Health Director Denise Burley told the county board of supervisors Thursday, July 9.

“This is concerning, of course, because this talks about extreme cases,” Burley said. “You don’t use a ventilator unless it’s the last resort. They are very hard on people.”

Burley said county hospitals still have some capacity when it comes to ventilators, and that the state has already ordered additional ventilators that will be allocated to hospitals as needed.

County health officials are expecting an increase of cases as a consequence of Fourth of July holiday celebrations. “In the next 10 days we will start to see some of those cases playing themselves out,” Burley said.

Burley also spoke about a larger number of cases requiring hospitalization recently in both the Kingman and Lake Havasu City service areas.

The mortality rate – the number of deaths divided by the number of confirmed cases – in Mohave County is 5.7%, more than three times the state average of 1.8%.

“This number is a little higher than we’d like to see,” Burley said, referring to the 91 COVID-19 deaths in the county as “preventable.”

District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson brought up the possibility of declaring a “mask program” in the unincorporated areas of the county and asked Burley for her opinion.

“We strongly recommend taking all mitigation efforts seriously,” Burley said. “I certainly recommend that the county adopt this policy and that is Public Health’s perspective and certainly my recommendation moving forward.”

Burley made the same suggestion last week, but the board took no action.

The goal is to keep county hospitals below capacity, she added, and masks are a preventive tool to assist with that.

District 5 Supervisor Ron Gould said that his assistant was in Walmart in Fort Mohave and that people are complying with wearing masks without the mandate. Unless the county is ready to mandate people to wear face masks in their homes and enforce that, Gould said he is against any additional mandates.

He also asked Burley if the most recent shipment of 3,000 COVID-19 tests the county received could be reserved for individuals with symptoms only.

Burley said people with symptoms are the focus of the testing effort anyway, but said it would be difficult to monitor.

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