From Dr. Gerald’s Summary in this week’s report:
Arizona continues to experience high levels of community transmission attributable to the newly dominant Omicron variant and to a lesser extent Delta. Test positivity remains high reminding us that test capacity, accessibility, and/or uptake is inadequate. Given how quickly the Omicron variant impacted the United Kingdom and the US Northeast, Arizona is poised to experience another large wave of infections in January with increased hospitalizations lagging 10–14 days later.
January is poised to be a very difficult month for Arizona hospitals as 3 events will collide: (1) the tail of the Delta wave; 2), below average but still meaningful seasonal influenza; and 3) the coming Omicron wave. Increasing viral transmission among Arizonans 20 – 39 years indicates that the Omicron wave is imminent.
COVID-19 hospital occupancy is at least temporarily declining but will continue to exceed 25% of all beds in the general ward and 35% of beds in the ICU for the remainder of the year. Access to care will continue to be restricted in the face of staff shortages in inpatient and outpatient settings.
As an updated mortality report from the Arizona Public Health Association indicates excess deaths are considerably higher than the official COVID-19 statistics. Considerably more Arizonans have lost their lives to COVID-19 than reflected by the ADHS Dashboard.
The United Kingdom continues to publish excellent weekly summaries of Omicron’s impact (Dec 23): https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1043807/technical-briefing-33.pdf
For those wanting to track variant data, here are links to genomic state data (https://pathogen.tgen.org/covidseq-tracker/) and national data (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#variant-proportions). S-gene Target Failure (SGTF) from PCR testing is available from the ASU Biodesign Institute: https://biodesign.asu.edu/research/clinical-testing/critical-covid-19-trends.
- Emerging Evidence Suggests Omicron has a Less Severe Clinical Presentation Compared with Delta – AZ Public Health Association
- Early Assessment of Omicron Severity in South Africa Shows Encouraging Results: Don’t Do Handstands – We’re Still in Trouble – AZ Public Health Association
- Now that Arizona Is In Crisis Standards of Care (for the Most Critically Ill COVID Patients), How Will Doctors Allocate Treatment? – AZ Public Health Association
Arizona has two documents that outline how doctors are supposed to make life and death decisions because there aren’t enough resources to treat all patients. These documents will be increasingly important documents for rationing care in January once the Omicron wave is in full force.