View Dr. Joe Gerald’s February 25 Epidemiology & Hospital Occupancy Report

From Dr. Gerald this week:

While Arizona continues to experience high levels of community transmission, we are experiencing rapid improvements that will meaningfully reduce risk of infection in March. Test positivity remains high but is also declining.

As of February 20th, new cases were being diagnosed at a rate of 170 cases per 100K residents per week. The risk of infection now falls below the CDC threshold for high transmission in Maricopa, Coconino, Yavapai, and Santa Cruz Counties. Residents in other counties should fall below high transmission this week.

During March more institutions and individuals will be drawing down their COVID-19 mitigations. For those who are healthy, vaccinated or recovered normalization will pose little risk. Those who have personal health conditions, family members with personal health conditions, or workers who interact with those who are vulnerable should continue to mitigate until transmission levels fall further. We are going to continue an awkward condition, where motivating the healthy to maintain their precautions to protect the vulnerable will become even more difficult.

COVID-19 hospital occupancy in the wards and ICUs is falling quickly. Even so, access to care continues to be constrained by COVID-19 occupancy, influenza cases, and the backlog of postponed care.

At least 27,931 Arizonans have lost their lives to COVID-19. Weekly totals in the low-400s are likely end soon as the Omicron surge resolved quickly.

Is BA.2 here in Arizona? Yes, it is present and now showing up in greater numbers (~10%). It should become the dominant variant over the coming month. The implication is that it will be a bit more difficult to push down transmission rates.

Other odds and ends…