Experts Urge Caution As COVID-19 Spread Accelerates In Arizona

Published: Friday, November 13, 2020 - 2:32pm
Updated: Sunday, November 15, 2020 - 9:23am
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Arizona has reported more than 12,000 new positive cases of COVID-19 this week. Health experts are continuing to urge caution as the spread of the virus accelerates through the state.

Arizona’s Department of Health Services reports every county in the state is now seeing more than 100 new COVID-19 infections per 100,000 residents per-week — that’s one of the state’s benchmarks indicating “substantial spread” of the virus. The state's other two benchmarks for measuring the spread of the virus — test positivity rates and hospital visits for COVID-like illness — have not reached "substantial" level, but are also trending upward. 

In a video message this week, DHS director Dr. Cara Christ said Arizona’s hospitals currently have sufficient capacity to handle patients, but emergency room visits and ICU bed use are on the rise.

“We are also seeing an increased number of transfers through our Arizona Surge Line which is an early indicator of hospital capacity concerns," Christ said. The Surge Line connects hospitals throughout the state to find available beds for COVID-19 patients. 

In a COVID-19 forecast this week, Dr. Joe Gerald with the University of Arizona wrote the state could be setting records for new cases by the end of this month. 

"It is difficult to appreciate just how quickly exponential growth can cause conditions to deteriorate," Gerald wrote. “Even though the same number of COVID-19 cases is yielding fewer hospitalizations and deaths today than in June, Arizona is still poised to overwhelm its hospital capacity unless action is quickly taken.“ 

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