COVID-19 rebounds in Pima County with a vengeance

COVID-19 rebounds in Pima County with a vengeance
COVID-19 rebounds in Pima County with a vengeance
Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 7:35 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -A spike in COVID cases was predicted when the temperatures began to drop, and people spent more time indoors.

It happened so fast though, that Pima County went from mild transmission to high risk in a weekend.

“Cases up 100%, hospitalizations are up 49%, there’s only one death,” said Dr. Richard Carmona, US Surgeon General under President George W. Bush. “But that was all predicted.”

It might have been predicted but it also means it’s time to make some hard choices.

“I think if people are in situations where people have tested, no one is ill, people are vaccinated, the question of whether to mask or not is individual, really based on an assessment of personal risk factors,” said Dr. Theresa Cullen, the Pima County Health Director.

Those risk factors will likely be age and whether a person’s health is compromised.

High transmission means more than 10 people per hundred thousand are sick enough to go to the hospital and because we are also seeing a spike in flu cases and RSV cases, that could jam up the works as we enter the season for respiratory diseases. “It means we’re seeing an increase in those people who are sick enough to be admitted to the hospital or admitted to the ICU, so it does start to become concerning when we see these numbers and what kind of strain it can put on the medical system,” said Matthew Christenberry, an epidemiologist for Pima County.

It’s especially concerning for people who are over 65. Reports are that nine in ten people who have died from COVID are 65 and over, many of them compromised. That means the community has made a tradeoff of sorts. Those who are healthy as opposed to those who are most at risk.

“That the seniors and those who are immunocompromised are the most likely to succumb,” Dr. Carmona said. “That the average healthy person may get sick but is unlikely they will die.”

There were 25,000 new cases in Arizona last week and 2,500 new cases of COVID in Pima County and that’s likely a low estimate since many people do home testing and don’t report their results.

So, as the health officials say now is the time to wash your hands frequently. make sure you don’t get too close to people you don’t know, stay away from crowded situations, make sure to be up to date on vaccines and of course “The science is clear, there’s no question, masks make a difference but people get tired of it, people have so called COVID exhaustion, they don’t want to do it,” said Dr. Carmona.

But with cases picking up, for some, maybe it’s a good idea to rethink their stance on masking. But of course, it’s a personal decision.