As the pandemic pushes U.S. hospitals in the South and West near capacity, the urgent need for available beds has stranded patients in emergency rooms, scrambled ambulances and forced patients to relocate hundreds of miles to relieve overcrowded wards.

In Arizona, hospitals are using a statewide transfer center to move 30 to 50 patients between hospitals each day, according to the director of the state’s Department of Health Services. In Florida, hospital giant HCA Healthcare Inc. isn’t accepting patients transferred from…

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