10 Arizona counties meet health benchmarks to resume in-person learning at schools

The Arizona Department of Health Services announced on Sept. 3 that six Arizona counties, including Maricopa, have joined four others in meeting the benchmarks for hybrid learning -- a combination of in-person and virtual learning in schools amid COVID-19.

According to a news release from AZDHS, Cochise, Coconino, Maricopa, Navajo, Pima and Pinal counties have met the recommended benchmarks that were established by Governor Doug Ducey on June 23.

Apache and Yavapai Counties met the benchmarks last month. Greenlee and La Paz counties met the minimal community spread benchmark, which should be met in order for schools to return to traditional, full in-person education.

To meet the benchmarks, there are three points: Number of cases, percent positivity, and COVID-19 like illnesses.

On Sept. 3, the department of health services reported 1,091 new cases of coronavirus and 65 additional deaths. Arizona now has a total of 203,953 cases and 5,130 deaths.

It was the first day that the Department of Health Services reported over 1,000 additional cases since Aug. 13, when 1,351 were reported.

Arizona was a national hot spot in June and July, with cases and deaths trending downward since.

Seven-day rolling averages for daily new cases and daily deaths reported statewide continued to decrease through Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press.

The rolling average of new cases went from 873 on Aug. 19 to 486 on Wednesday, while the rolling average of daily deaths dropped from 41 to 28 during the same period.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Monitor your health daily

MAP: Worldwide interactive Coronavirus case data

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code

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CDC: How coronavirus spreads, symptoms, prevention, treatment, FAQ

Arizona COVID-19 resources, FAQ: azdhs.gov/coronavirus

On CoronavirusNOW.com, you'll find extensive coverage about COVID-19, including breaking news from around the country, exclusive interviews with health officials, and informative content from a variety of public health resources.

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

Right now there's one big difference between flu and coronavirus: A vaccine exists to help prevent the flu and it's not too late to get it. It won't protect you from catching the coronavirus, but may put you in a better position to fight it.

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.

Continuing Coverage

Teachers, parents react to hybrid learning once counties meet benchmarks to reopen schools

One teacher is worried to catch COVID-19 once in-person learning begins, and another parent is hopeful for classes to begin.

Arizona schools ask for kids to get flu shots before heading back to in-person classes

The goal is preventing an additional viral outbreak, on top of COVID-19, which there isn't a vaccine for yet.

Arizona Health and Education Departments set guidelines for school reopenings

Arizona’s top health official and the state’s education chief laid out a series of guidelines on August 6 that public schools were urged to use when deciding whether coronavirus infection rates are low enough to safely reopen for full in-person learning.

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