BEAUTIFUL, SON.- Arizona, which faces the worst Covid-19 diagnosis rate in the United States, is likely to see another big spike this weekend related to New Year’s meetings and travel, the state’s top health official said yesterday.
“Three to five days after Christmas and Christmas Eve were our highest days yet,” said Dr. Cara Christ, head of the state Department of Health Services, during a
“So, we know that people gathered and that they let their guard down.”
The state is considered a national Covid-19 hot spot and is nearing 10,000 deaths. The problem is that people are not following the efforts that are already underway, Christ said.
More than 90% of the state already has mandates to wear masks, but there has not been enough local enforcement, he added. States alone can do a lot.
Health officials have also been preparing for the next phase of the state’s vaccination plan. Next week, Maricopa and Pima counties, the two most populous, will begin vaccinating teachers, first responders and those 75 and older.
They expect to assign more than 125,000 doses next week, Christ said. An estimated 45% of the state’s frontline healthcare workers have received vaccinations thus far.
Many others have appointments scheduled for later this month, Christ said. The suburban Phoenix stadium, which is home to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, will be used as a mass vaccination site beginning Monday.
The goal is for thousands of people to be vaccinated daily at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. “We need to get these doses of vaccine out of the freezers and into the arms of Arizonans who want it, and our new site will accelerate that process,” Governor Doug Ducey said in a statement.
The state has received 314,750 doses of vaccines as of last week. Health officials were expecting 140,000 this week, of which about 60,000 would be second doses.
Last month, Arizona only inoculated about 20% of the people it could with available vaccines. Initially, he struggled to put together a massive show that will eventually bring
protection to all residents who want vaccines.
Arizona reported 11,658 new known infections and 197 more deaths on Friday. There were 4,907 Covid-19 patients hospitalized Thursday, including a pandemic record of 1,122 in Intensive Care, according to the state’s coronavirus control panel.
(WITH AP INFORMATION)