Arizona doctor fears closing and reopening trend if COVID-19 spread isn't slowed

An Arizona doctor says her fear is if the state doesn't get a handle on growing COVID-19 cases, we will be in an endless cycle of partially closing and reopening.

On Tuesday, numbers indicate another record-breaking day for
COVID-19 in Arizona.

"We did see a record number of deaths in Arizona today and that is only going to get worse unless we take serious action," says Dr. Natasha Bhuyan, a family physician with One Medical.

She's been following the numbers, she says, and as of Tuesday, Arizona is at a 33% positive rate of COVID-19, which she says might be the most alarming statistic.

"That tells me this disease is more widespread, we are not getting in control of it and we are not doing enough testing. If we saw more testing we would see the percent positive come down," Bhuyan explained.

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Bhuyan is seeing a huge demand for the need for testing. She says her patients who are requesting the tests are either coming down with symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who's had it.

She says there's no way to track where small outbreaks might be coming from.

RELATED: Tracking COVID-19: Health official believes Arizona is days away from using 'crisis standards of care'

"I am just not seeing enough contact tracing," Bhuyan said. "I don't even know what the data is so we are not clear on the hotspots."

Contract tracing, wearing a mask and increasing the testing will make a difference in the state during this pandemic, she explained.

RELATED: LIST: Phoenix-area restaurant closures, reopenings due to positive COVID-19 tests

"Unless we do that, we are going to be in an endless cycle. More people will get sick and more people will die," she said.

Bhuyan says a lot of her patients have been confused about how to process the information coming out on a daily basis on what's safe and what’s not.

She recommends working out concerns with personal doctors.


With the rising cases and amounts of ICU beds in use, more than 200 members of the health community wrote a letter to Gov. Ducey asking for more enforcement and the punishment of establishments not obeying the rules.

They also want to incentivize businesses that close and do their part to stop the spread.

“We need to see bars that are saying, 'Oh we are a restaurant because we have a bowl of popcorn out' and they can remain open, they need to be closed and there needs to be a punishment to businesses that should be closed that aren’t," Bhuyan said.

In the letter, doctors are thanking Ducey for the steps he took on the recent closures of bars, gyms and other establishments.

The governor tweeted the letter saying that doctors are praising Arizona's mitigation strategies, but the doctors hope he will read the entire letter and take action.

In regards to the ask in the letter about incentivizing businesses doing the right thing, there is a portion on the Department of Health Services website that they are creating a form where businesses can attest their compliance to the guidelines upon reopening.