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Arizona health officials on 'high alert' as COVID-19 cases trend upward

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Posted at 11:13 AM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 14:53:49-04

PHOENIX — The latest data from the Arizona Department of Health Services suggests Arizona is seeing an upward trend in COVID-19 cases, confirming what some experts have been saying in recent days about a new "surge" of cases in our state.

State health officials say, although Arizona isn't seeing as notable an increase in cases as some other parts of the country, the state is seeing a shift in COVID-19 spread.

As of Thursday, October 22, Arizona has reported a total of 234,906 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 5,859 deaths due to the virus.

Statewide metrics still meet the benchmarks for the "moderate" category of COVID-19 spread for business and school openings, according to ADHS, but rates and percent positivity are increasing in many counties and certain regions in the state.

RELATED: ASU experts say Arizona is now in a COVID-19 surge

The statewide percent positivity rate increased from 3.9% a few weeks ago to 5.5% as of last week, indicating early signs of increased COVID-19 spread throughout Arizona communities.

State health officials reported more than 1,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases Tuesday, one of the highest daily counts seen in about a month. It's a worrying sign for some experts, who said recently that the state could be on the path to exponential growth.

ADHS says they are remaining on "high alert" and are in active communication with public health partners at the local and federal level, and with hospital and healthcare providers. The focus remains on containing the spread of the virus and ensuring adequate care is available for those who contract the disease.

In a recently published article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arizona was successful in July and August when it mitigated steps that resulted in a 75% decrease in the number of cases.

The strategies put in place by state health officials and Governor Doug Ducey included implementing mask mandates, reducing occupancy in high-risk businesses, and implementing strict mitigation requirements.

Read the full message from ADHS here.