As Cases Decline, Arizonans Must Stay Vigilant, Expert Says

Published: Wednesday, August 5, 2020 - 4:52pm
Updated: Thursday, August 6, 2020 - 8:34am
Arizona State University
Joshua LaBaer

After surging COVID-19 cases in June and early July, the rate of infection in the state is finally trending downward. But Dr. Josh LaBaer with ASU’s Biodesign Institute cautions that declining case numbers should not be a sign that the state can ease up on efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

“We know that wearing masks works, we know that maintaining physical distances works, we know that avoiding being in groups works, let’s keep doing those things, I think those are really critical," LaBaer said in a call with reporters Wednesday. 

LaBaer said one trend going in the wrong direction is the declining number of tests performed in Arizona. He said the state still needs more widespread testing.

“The more testing we do, the more we can identify those folks who have the virus and get them isolated and that is the way to actually drive the numbers down.” 

As of late July, the state’s largest lab had been taking about nine days to return test results; that turnaround time is now down to 4 days. Experts say faster turnaround time is essential in order to isolate infectious people more quickly.

LaBaer said anyone working in restaurants, retail, or jobs where they come into contact with a lot of people in Arizona should be getting tested regularly.

Arizona Coronavirus Cases, Deaths

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