Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
The latest on COVID-19 in Arizona.

Arizona Edition: YRMC Talks Staff Safety and Face Masks

Yuma Regional Medical Center
Main entrance at Yuma Regional Medical Center


While Yuma Regional Medical Center continues to manage an uptick in COVID-19 patient admissions, hospital leadership says it continues to focus on staff safety.  

On KAWC's weekly episode of Arizona Edtion, we asked YRMC CEO and President Dr. Robert Trenschel how it manages to keep staff healthy and safe? He says on-sight transmissions are less concerning than the risk workers face outside the hospital environment.

"Nobody that we can track has tested positive from being in the hospital." or from working in the hospital, Dr. Trenschel clarified. "Everyone has tested positive from their social environment."

80 staff members have reportedly tested positive for coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, according to Dr. Trenschel. "That is all staff, that includes nursing staff, environmental health, everything from landscapers to physicians," he said. 

Part of the reason staff isn't transmitting the virus in the hospital is because personnel are equipped with personal protective gear and observe all guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Trenschel said. "Our intent is to not have any more staff get sick."

However, the hospital has had to rely on outside staff throughout the state to keep afloat with the increase in COVID patients.  He says staffing agency prices have dramatically increased. 

"There prices have gone through an exorbitant level, it is pretty ridiculous what they are charging for nursing staff to come into the hospital, but we will pay whatever we need to pay just to get these people in here to help alleviate our staff and help care for more patients," said Dr. Trenschel.  

However, there is a protocol that has been adopted by the state to triage patients when resources are slim, known as the crisis standard of care. "We are not at that point, I don't think any hospital in the state is- yet, he said. 

A way the public can help? Wear a mask, Dr. Trenschel emphasized. 

"I don't enjoy wearing a mask, I don't like it, it's hot and uncomfortable it is all these things," Dr. Trenschell said. " But me wearing a mask protects you, and you wearing a mask protects me."


Lou grew up in Tucson and has a long family history in the state of Arizona. He began his public radio career in 1988 at KNAU in Flagstaff as a classical music DJ and has been hooked on public radio since, transitioning to news after trying his hand at several other careers in publishing and commercial broadcasting. Lou has a degree in American Studies from Arizona State University and was KAWC's Morning Edition host for two and half years before becoming News and Operations Director.
Related Content