Originally published Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 05:52p.m.

KINGMAN – CEOs of four local hospitals discussed their readiness in the event of a local coronavirus outbreak at an online press conference arranged by the Mohave County Department of Public Health on Monday, March 23. Mohave remains one of just four counties in Arizona without a confirmed case of COVID-19.

“The biggest challenge for us now are N95 face masks but we are looking at additional sources to get more,” reported Brian Turney, CEO at Kingman Regional Medical Center.

The CEOs said that in some respects they find themselves in uncharted territory.

“We are as prepared as we can be for something we haven’t seen for decades,” said Michael Stenger of Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City. “It’s an uncharted territory for all of us. In this time of the year our hospitals are at the capacity due to the winter surge, but we made space and have capacity to ramp up.”

Mike Patterson, CEO at Havasu Regional Medical Center, said each of the county’s four hospitals have increased capacity in preparation.

Turney said a lot would depend on the number of patients received. “There is always a potential we might run into a problem depending on how hard our institution will get hit … . Things can get complicated pretty quickly.”

That situation has yet to materialize, as the county remains officially virus free. Of 101 persons tested, the county health department reported Monday, 34 tests were returned negative, results from 66 are still pending, and one came back inconclusive.

“We did not see the surge of patients yet,” pointed out Mike Patterson of HRMC. “Things are not perfect by any means, but we are prepared.”

The CEOs also provided information about their intensive care units, which could be expanded, and are used to treat the most seriously ill patients.

The medical centers in Kingman and Bullhead City have 20 intensive care beds each, while there are 16 at HRMC and 10 at Valley View Medical Center in Fort Mohave. Information on the number of ventilators at KRMC was not available.

KRMC has made its “Care Anywhere” online health program free to the public and was able to help about 300 patients since Wednesday, March 18, Turney reported.

Patients submit their symptoms online, without leaving the house, and a KRMC provider reviews them and responds. To start a visit, go to krmc.zipnosis.com.