You can check out Dr. Gerald’s latest COVID Epidemiological Review Here. The Appendix this week has an informative county by county epidemiological analysis. Summary of Dr. Gerald’s report is below, but make sure to view the full report– there are lots of interesting figures in the report this week.

• Arizona is transitioning to a new phase of the outbreak where viral transmission is declining in the working-age and older adult populations but beginning to increase among adolescents and young adults. This is most likely attributable to re-opening of university campuses.

o Rising cases on university campuses pose an unknown risk to the broader community as it is unclear to what extent that the social networks of students and the broader community overlap.

o While the risk of severe disease in young adults is low, that is not the same as no risk. As case counts increase, some young adults will invariably require hospitalization and it is not out-of-the question that a small number of deaths could result.

o Reporting lag for PCR results has improved such that ≥90% of results are returned within 48 hours; however, the rapid rise in antigen testing on University campuses may present new challenges in data reporting and interpretation.

• Outside of young adults, levels of community-driven viral transmission remain comparatively high but continue to decline. Overall, transmission levels are on par with those observed in late-May.

o For all locales, mask-wearing ordinances will be needed for the foreseeable future to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

o As some additional business activities (e.g., schools and businesses) resume, they will bring more people into closer contact and will facilitate additional viral transmission. Therefore, continued adherence with mask wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and surface decontamination will be needed to mitigate these risks.

• Covid-related hospital utilization continues to decline while excess capacity is not being replenished owing to larger amounts of non-Covid care. However, adequate capacity is available for the foreseeable future.

o From now until January, non-Covid hospitalizations are expected to increase putting additional strain on hospital capacity.

o Hospitals will continue to experience large volumes of elective care to address the backlog of patients waiting elective procedures.

• Current Covid-19 test capacity appears adequate as evidenced by quick turn-around for PCR results and a PCR test positive percentage of 5% which is within the recommended 3 – 5% threshold.

o As more Covid-19 testing transitions to antigen testing, it is unclear how this might impact test positivity trends. A rising test positive percentage should raise the possibility of resurgence.

County Data (weekly crude and population-adjusted cases counts) appear in Appendix.

Next update scheduled for September 11.


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