PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- Arizona reached a grim milestone this week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says our state leads the entire nation in the number of average daily COVID-19 cases per 100K people.
According to the CDC COVID-19 data tracker, Arizona's average daily cases per 100K over the past 7 days was 112.1. That tops both California and Rhode Island, with both states recording 95.8 cases.
"When you look at Los Angeles, it’s scary," said Capt. Rob McDade with the Phoenix Fire Department.
Fire crews are ready
According to Capt. McDade, what's happening in the greater Los Angeles area, the health care crisis they're dealing with, is a scenario they don't want happening here.
"It is almost a blueprint for the rest of us. Is on the horizon?" said Capt. McDade.
But McDade said the back-to-back timing of Christmas and New Year's Eve has yet to become an issue across the Valley.
"I can tell you here in the City of Phoenix, 100% service delivery. If you call an ambulance, you're going to get an ambulance, and if you need to go to the hospital, we are going to take you to the hospital," said McDade.
Over the past 24 hours, the fire department has responded to 54 calls for service related to COVID-19 patients.
"Especially in the west side of the Valley where you have generational families living in the same home," said Captain McDade.
Half of those people had severe enough symptoms where they were then taken to the hospital.
"We don't know if we will ever reach that critical point we've played out doomsday for our staffing and our service delivery," said Capt. McDade.
And moving forward, that's still the plan for now.
"You have to have your large municipal fire department ready to respond to anything because what happens during COVID. House fires still happen, bad car accidents still happen," said Capt. McDade.
Capt. McDade said it's all hands on deck for them right now. Every fire station is in service and fully staffed.
Arizona's cases of COVID-19 have been soaring since the holidays. On Tuesday, our state reported 5,932 cases and 253 deaths.
For the week of December 27th, ADHS reported 48,152 coronavirus cases. The second highest week is two weeks earlier with 47,082 cases.
For the week of Dec. 27, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. During that week, ADHS reported 48,152 coronavirus cases. The second highest week was two weeks earlier with 47,082 cases.
ADHS also reported the highest number of deaths since the start of the pandemic for the week of Dec. 13 with 640 deaths, making December the deadliest month for COVID-19. The second highest date was during the week of July 12 with 602 deaths. Arizona reported more COVID-19 cases in December than May, June, July, and August combined.
-SCHOOL DISTRICTS AFFECTED
COVID-19 concerns have affected the start of the new semester for students and parents at Arizona schools. Many districts are returning to class in online learning modes until the numbers start improving. Just last night at a Chandler Unified School District board meeting, board members voted that students would remain in distance learning for the next two weeks. Gilbert Public Schools voted last night to stay in hybrid form for all students until Jan. 29 or until teachers start getting vaccinated.
-VACCINE DISTRIBUTION DELAYS
Officials with Maricopa County this week gave Arizona's Family more information about COVID-19 vaccine distribution delays. As of Tuesday, Jan. 4, 101,030 Arizonans had been vaccinated, far below the original numbers projected. We asked County spokesman Fields Moseley about why more people had not gotten their dose. "A few issues have come up, and we have worked to address them as quickly as possible so we can vaccinate our healthcare workers as quickly as possible," he said.
Moseley says there are reduced Point of Distribution (POD) hours this week. The County is partnering with local healthcare systems and municipalities to operate five drive-through POD sites across the county for the first phase of vaccine distribution, primarily to health care workers. He detailed for us some scheduling issues that have come up at two County PODs that contributed to fewer-than-expected vaccinations. Those included technical issues, and the arrival of the vaccine over the holidays. "We have worked with ADHS to resolve these issues to the best of our ability and implemented workarounds and communication to inform people of what is happening," he said. The public can check the schedule online to see when and where vaccines will be given.
-ZIP CODES WITH HIGHEST NUMBERS
Arizona's Family has broken down data from the Department of Health Services to see which ZIP codes have the biggest spike in COVID-19 cases week to week. Between Dec. 27 and Jan. 3, the Mesa community with the ZIP code 85202 had the highest number of new cases. The area is also in the top 5 for highest number of new cases per 100,000 people.
Here's a look at the ZIP codes with the highest growth between Dec. 27 and Jan. 3 (statewide):
ZIP Code: 85202
- City: Mesa
- Percentage Growth: 16%
- New Cases Per 100,000: 1,873
- New Cases: 735
- Population: 39,245
ZIP Code: 85326
- City: Buckeye
- Percentage Growth: 10%
- New Cases Per 100,000: 841
- New Cases: 513
- Population: 60,999
ZIP Code: 85364
- City: Yuma
- Percentage Growth: 8%
- New Cases Per 100,000: 964
- New Cases: 717
- Population 74,382
ZIP Code: 85706
- City: Tucson
- Percentage Growth: 8%
- New Cases Per 100,000: 985
- New Cases: 545
- Population: 55,352
Some trends emerged over the last four weeks, as well. Areas of Yuma (85364) and Tucson (85706) showed the highest number of new cases between Dec. 6 and Jan. 3. Yuma's 85364 ZIP code had 2,817 new cases of COVID-19 over those four weeks. And Tucson's 85706 ZIP code had had 2,681 new cases of COVID-19 over those four weeks.
So what about the other end of the spectrum? There are a number of ZIP codes (with a population of 15,000 or more) that have had the lowest number of new cases per 100,000 people over the past four weeks.
- (85253) Paradise Valley - 1,336
- (85259) Scottsdale - 1,289
- (85268) Fountain Hills - 1,358
- (85375) Sun City West - 1,415
- (85650) Sierra Vista - 1,391
- (85739) Tucson - 1,205
- (85755) Tucson - 1,410
- (85755) Tucson, Oro Valley - 1,327
- (85901) Show Low - 910
Medical experts say it's hard to pinpoint why one community sees a spike in COVID-19 cases while another does not, but there are contributing factors. Dr. Ross Goldberg, president of the Arizona Medical Association, says there may be more people living closer together in apartment buildings, workers in close proximity or maybe more frequent gatherings among neighbors and friends.