As coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations continue to rise across the state, Arizona’s public health officials are warning of an active increase in the virus that will worsen without widespread mitigation tactics.
The statewide percent positivity for COVID-19 increased to 9% last week. A rate of 5% is a good indicator the spread of the virus is under control.
Arizona reported over 13,000 cases the week of Nov. 1, an 187% increase from the beginning of last month, according to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS).
Today, Arizona reported nearly 1,400 new coronavirus cases and hit a statewide total of 266,562 cases. Pima County reported 191 new cases today and has seen 31,538 total cases.
According to Christ. COVID-19-like illness is also on the rise with increased inpatient and emergency room visits. She said although the state’s hospitals are reporting sufficient capacity, they’re also reporting a higher number of beds in use.
The Arizona Surge Line, a system established by ADHS in April that prevents one hospital from becoming overwhelmed by facilitating COVID-19 patient admission and transfer, is seeing increased instances of these transfers. Christ called this “an early indicator of hospital capacity concerns.”
The health director said while statewide benchmarks for businesses and schools to reopen are being met, metrics tracking case rates, percent positivity and COVID-like illness are all increasing.
Christ said the age group ranging from 20 to 44 makes up nearly 50% of the coronavirus cases in Arizona, but that these are mostly “college-age individuals.”
ADHS asks everyone to practice mitigation tactics such as frequent hand-washing, physical distancing and mask-wearing.
“We urge all Arizonans to appropriately wear a mask, whether or not they live in an area with a mandate,” Christ said in the video.
Christ called the recent news about a potential COVID-19 vaccine “exciting,” but said, “this no time to let up on masks, distancing and other precautions that slow the spread.”
With the upcoming holiday season approaching, ADHS asks everyone to safely celebrate by moving gatherings outside, increasing ventilation by opening doors and windows and virtually celebrating with elderly and high-risk individuals.
“This has been a difficult year, and many have grown tired of the mitigation strategies, but we can’t let up,” Christ said. “We know these strategies work in keeping our community safe, our schools open and our kids and loved ones healthy.”