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Internal FEMA memo reveals Arizona coronavirus patients taken to New Mexico over staffing shortages: report

Internal FEMA memo reveals Arizona coronavirus patients taken to New Mexico over staffing shortages: report
© MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

An internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) showed coronavirus patients in Arizona were taken to New Mexico because of staffing shortages and a lack of hospital beds. 

The memo, obtained by ABC News, did not specify how many patients were moved across the state border. Arizona is among the states in the South and western U.S. currently experiencing a record surge in coronavirus cases. 

According to the Arizona Department of Health, 86 percent of hospital beds are currently in-use in the state, down from 91 percent earlier this month.

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The memo also said 85 percent of critical care beds are in-use in Georgia, where coronavirus cases have surged in recent weeks. Health leaders in the state told Fox 5 Friday that hospitals are seeing a large jump in patients.

In Arkansas, the Hot Springs area reported a 198.1 percent increase in new cases this past week, with 145 new cases, the memo said, noting that most of the cases are in the Ouachita River Unit prison. 

Ouachita River, like dozens of other prisons across the countries, has been a hotspot for the disease.

The pandemic continues to grow in the U.S., recording over 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths Friday for the fourth straight day this week, according to the COVID Tracking project.