COVID-19 circumstances in Arizona proceed to spike in November
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona hit 254,764 on Friday, November 6th, an increase from 1,996 from the previous day, according to the Arizona Department of Health. This is the second highest daily increase in Arizona since August 1.
The state has been reasonably effective in fighting the virus for the past three months, but is showing some signs of regression. While July saw an average increase of 3,075 new cases per day, Arizona recorded an average of 877 new cases per day in August and an average of 552 new cases per day in September. In October, however, the number rose to an average of 903 new cases per day. and Arizona has an average of 1,470 new cases per day so far as of November.
The number of COVID-19 deaths in Arizona now stands at 6,109, after 22 new deaths were reported since yesterday.
Infection and death rates have dropped sharply for a month, and the availability of hospital beds has improved, which experts attribute to stricter restrictions on collecting and wearing masks, among other things.
But all health experts are warning that now is not the time to relax.
A prominent health expert voiced concern about rising COVID-19 numbers across Arizona, saying the trend was reminiscent of the early summer conditions that preceded a surge in cases and the rollback of business reopening measures.
“This is a moment to stop, take action, and think carefully: what can we do to prevent this?” said Joshua LaBaer, executive director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, which tracks case trends in the 15 counties of Arizona as well as across the state and nation.
According to LaBaer, the number of new cases recently reported by the Arizona Department of Health are numbers we haven’t seen in a while.
The cases are increasing in Maricopa, Yuma, Navajo and Coconino counties, among others, he said.
“In terms of the number of new cases, we are on a path towards exponential growth,” said LaBaer. “The hard thing about exponential growth is that at first it doesn’t look like it’s growing very quickly. The day-to-day numbers don’t look like much of a change. But then suddenly things can really start. And that’s why I’m worried. “
On May 29, the state reported 909 new cases. A month later, on June 29, the daily number hit a high of 5,461.
When cases first surfaced across Arizona in March, Governor Doug Ducey and county and community officials were putting in place guidelines to prevent the spread. The shutdown of non-essential businesses as well as mask mandates have been credited with slowing the disease in the community.
But as cases receded, restrictions eased too.
For example, schools across the state have reopened, and in Maricopa County alone, 21 have reported COVID-19 outbreaks since August, according to county statistics.
And as of October 1, no counties in the state remained in the “substantial” broadcasts category, meaning restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, and other businesses could reopen.
“The decisions that Arizona people made in the interests of public health led us to this milestone,” said Dr. Cara Christ, Director of the State Ministry of Health.
But there has to be a balance between public policy and personal responsibility, LaBaer said, urging anyone who has a public job or interacts with new people to get tested regularly.
“We’re still not testing enough,” he said. “People just don’t show up.”
LaBaer noted that things could only get worse in the coming Halloween weeks, followed by Thanksgiving and the December break of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.
He advised parents to use caution when allowing their children to do trick or treating. He recommends wearing masks, covering your nose and mouth, avoiding large groups of people, and wiping candy wrappers before the children dive in.
Traditional trick-or-treating and indoor parties have been classified as high-risk activities by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
LaBaer said upcoming holiday celebrations should be kept small and confined to the immediate family, with larger gatherings found to be COVID-19 “super spreaders”.
When events can’t be kept small, he recommends wearing masks, social distancing, and pre-event testing to ensure safety.
“We really need to think about gatherings,” LaBaer said. “It’s just not good to bring a lot of people together right now, and when people get together they really need to wear masks and keep their distance.”
COVID-19 is a serious disease that can be fatal in any human being, especially our elderly population and people with underlying health conditions. ADHD advises everyone to take precautions:
The best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Wear a mask when you are in close proximity to other people.
• Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with sick people.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that you touch frequently.
COVID-19 spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms are thought to appear within two to 14 days of exposure and consist of fever, cough, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. For people with mild illnesses, people are asked to stay home, drink plenty of fluids, and rest. For people with more severe symptoms such as shortness of breath, it is recommended that you consult a doctor.
ADHD activated its Health Emergency Operations Center on Jan. 27 after the first case of travel-related COVID-19 was confirmed in Arizona. The Health Emergency Operations Center remains open to coordinate the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information on the Arizona COVID-19 response, visit azhealth.gov/COVID19 online.
Farah Eltohamy and Allison Engstrom of Cronkite News contributed to this report.