PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — COVID-19 is on the rise once again in Arizona. The latest numbers from the state health department show 12,987 cases and 42 new deaths. Eight Arizona counties currently have high transmission levels, and Arizona is the only state in the country where every single county has medium or high levels of COVID-19 transmission.
Hospitalizations have also been rising over the last month, but this year’s Thanksgiving surge is not quite as severe as last year’s surge. Still, multiple Valley doctors expect those numbers to continue rising into next year. “I’m looking at about February, the peak will be over,” Valleywise Health emergency physician doctor Frank LoVecchio said.
Compared to the last few months, LoVecchio says November feels different regarding the quantity of COVID cases. “The numbers are saying that there’s only about seven percent of people that come to Arizona ERs, or Maricopa County ERs with COVID-like illnesses,” he said. “It feels like it’s much more than that. It feels like it’s double or triple that.”
Valleywise officials say the number of COVID cases has more than doubled from August until now, and LoVecchio says that’s on top of an increase in flu and RSV cases which weren’t as prevalent last year. “We’re a little burnt out, I was hoping this would be over,” LoVecchio said. “But it looks like it will be a little bit worse these next two months.”
Eight percent of Arizona COVID-19 patients currently occupy hospital ICU beds, according to recent Health And Human Services data. That’s one of the highest rates in the country and more than 2.5% above the national average. University of Arizona doctor Shad Marvasti says the best way to fight the surge is doing what the CDC, DHS, and other organizations have recommended since the pandemic started.
“Consider wearing those masks in indoor public spaces,” Marvasti said. “Not just a flimsy surgical or cloth mask but either a KN-95 or an N-95. If you haven’t been vaccinated, you definitely should get vaccinated. And if you haven’t been boosted, now is the time to get boosted.”
But with the pandemic approaching year three, Marvasti isn’t confident that many Arizonans will change their ways. “I don’t expect most Arizonans to take precautions, unfortunately,” he said. “I think people have been desensitized to it. When the numbers are high, everybody should do their part.”
Copyright 2022 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.