Fewer hospital visits, an Arizona rebound and other impacts from pandemic

By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter

Hospitals are seeing fewer patients for COVID-19 and other conditions as governments and businesses try to figure when is best to reopen the economy.

That is according to Dr. Joshua Lewis, an emergency room physician. “Our volumes are down close to 50 percent,” said Lewis of overall visits to Phoenix area hospitals.

Lewis talked about the dynamics and trends on Friday during Rose Law Group’s New Virtual Power Lunch.

Arizona has 6,045 COVID-19 cases and 266 deaths. The state ranks 23rd nationally for Coronavirus cases. Arizona ranks 14th for population among U.S. states. New York has the most COVID-19 cases with 271,590 cases.

Lewis said he is seeing patients (including some with serious medical conditions) avoiding coming to the hospital over fears of the virus. He said Arizona might still not see its peak in hospital visits until May 22 even with some indications of fewer cases.

The trendlines for those cases will help determine when the economy and businesses reopen in Arizona and other states.

Veteran economist Elliott Pollack expects Arizona and the Phoenix metro to rebound better than other regions from the pandemic’s economic impacts pointing to job growth before shutdowns.

“Arizona will do much better than most places. Phoenix will do better than Arizona as a whole,” Pollack said during the Rose Law Group virtual event.

Pollack, however, expects to see supply chain challenges when economic activity starts to return as well as 20 percent to 30 percent of small businesses permanently closing after the pandemic.

COVID-19 has resulted in 26 million lost jobs nationally. Pollack said 80 percent of restaurant workers, 78 percent of hotel and resort employees and 70 percent of sales clerks have had their jobs lost or negatively impacted.

“It’s really been concentrated on the service industry and those people really need the CARES Act to basically stay alive,” Pollack said.

Conversely, Pollack said there is demand for logistics workers, paramedics and loan processors.

Construction projects have not been shut down in Arizona.  That allows home builders and developers to continue work and protects jobs for construction workers.

Don Murphy, President of Shea Homes Arizona, said he has only seen a few already struggling subcontractors have their businesses go under during the pandemic.

Murphy said the industry is working to abide by social distancing and public health protocols. He is also optimistic about a real estate rebound after the pandemic.

“Certainly, we think sales are going to come back,” Murphy said. Like others he is not sure when that will happen and how soon.

The Rose Law Group virtual forum also featured Rick Schantz, the head coach of Phoenix Rising FC. Schantz said he has been looking at best practices throughout the soccer and encouraging his players to focus on positive character attributes and nutrition during the lockdown.

He is also finding efficiencies in using technology including Zoom meetings. “Zoom has allowed me to be far more efficient,” Schantz said.

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April 2020