PHOENIX — While still at high levels, some COVID-19 hospitalization metrics are improving in Arizona.
The number of COVID-19 inpatients across Arizona hospitals is at 4,229, according to the state's coronavirus dashboard. That is down from 5,082 on Jan. 11, the state's peak.
"The hospital is still full," said Dr. Brandon Lawrence, an emergency medicine physician at a Valley hospital. "We have our ICUs ...still all double capacity. That's because...when you get sick, you're sick for weeks."
The percentage of positive COVID-19 tests has also started to decrease -- down to 19% for the week of January 17, compared to 24% the week of December 27.
"Cautiously optimistic, I guess, would be a good term for it," Dr. Lawrence said.
In his latest COVID-19 modeling report, University of Arizona Associate Professor Dr. Joe Gerald noted a "large, unexpected" decline in cases last week.
He speculated the holiday closures of universities and K-12 schools might have played a role in the improving metrics, which he cautioned could be short-lived.
As of Monday, Banner Health resumed limited elective surgeries at some of its facilities, including outpatient facilities and procedures
that do not require longer than a one-night stay nor a bed in the ICU.
At the same time, Dr. Lawrence told ABC15, that COVID-19 diagnosis are still coming as an unexpected shock to some patients.
"There's still people that come in with fevers and cough that are surprised that they have COVID," Dr. Lawrence said. "I had a patient come in that had seven days of fever that had gone to a get together [where] someone had tested positive, and she was surprised that she had COVID."