PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The story is the same at most Arizona hospitals and doctor's offices. New patients diagnosed with COVID-19 appear to have one thing in common. "It's almost strictly the people who are unvaccinated are the patients we are seeing in the emergency department," said Dr. Quinn Snyder. "We don't see the patients who are vaccinated in the ER at this point. We see them for other reasons, just not for COVID."
COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Arizona, according to statistics from the Arizona Department of Health Services. On Wednesday, 1,945 new cases were reported, with 21 new deaths. It's the highest number since April.
Health officials attribute the spike to a reporting issue that carried over cases from a few days ago, but other stats show a disturbing trend. In May, Arizona's positivity rate was around 5%. It jumped to 6% during the last week in June. So far this month, it's up over 9%.
Dr. Ross Goldberg, with Valleywise Health, is the former president of the Arizona Medical Association. He said the main reason we're seeing more COVID-19 cases is the high number of people still unvaccinated. So far, roughly 50% of Arizonans have received at least one vaccine dose. It means, half the population is at risk and vulnerable to the even more contagious Delta variant, according to Goldberg.
"That's what it's doing. It's finding hosts that are not vaccinated and don't have immunity and spreading," said Goldberg. "It's jumping from person to person because it can. The way to really stop it from doing that is to have some sort of immunity to block it from multiplying."
The Delta variant now makes up 19% of cases sequenced in the county.
"That's either a vaccine, which I advocate for, or getting it, which is not really the way you want to get immunity with all the issues that come along with COVID," said Goldberg.