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COVID-19 cases going up in Pima County

Posted at 1:42 PM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-24 14:07:52-04

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Arizona, like much of the country, is in the middle of a surge in COVID-19 cases.

It’s a pattern we’ve seen develop over the last several weeks.

The rise in cases is a worrying sign for some experts, who say the state could be on the path to exponential growth.

Though, what does this mean for Pima County?

Dr. Theresa Cullen, the Director of the Pima County Health Department, says while Tucson is currently stable, the statewide surge is starting to affect Pima County.

“Our rolling average six days ago was 59 cases per day. Today it’s 67 cases per day. And when I looked at the early numbers this morning I was concerned because I’m...oh...I can say pretty certainly that number is going to continue to rise,” she told KGUN9.

Here’s what Dr. Cullen says is causing the increase in cases.

“What we believe is that there is most likely COVID fatigue, which we’re talking about. People are tired. They may or may not be wearing their mask correctly. They may be having more social gatherings. They may be forgetting that we need to be six feet apart,” she added.

Dr. Joe Gerald, a professor at the University of Arizona says if this trend continues, we’re headed for trouble in the coming weeks.

“The trend that we’re on puts us at risk of a crisis sometime beginning around the Thanksgiving holiday,” he told KGUN9.

The good news is he says we’re getting better at treating folks who are ill, and people are mostly abiding by CDC guidelines.

“But on the other side of the ledger, we are coming up into viral respiratory season, and so we would expect hospitalizations due to influenza, respiratory viruses to increase,” Dr. Gerald warned.

Dr. Cullen says Pima County is in the green for hospital beds, ventilators, and personal protective equipment .

“Things are actually going pretty well right now and if we can just hold the course, we should be in pretty good shape,” said Dr. Gerald.

“We’re really going to urge the community to do the three W’s. Wash your hands, wear a mask, and then wait the six feet distance,” added Dr. Cullen.

The Pima County Health Department is offering free flu shots. For more information, click here.