Arizona doctor talks about COVID-19 as state reports hike of 1,565 confirmed cases

Arizona’s coronavirus outbreak heated up on Oct. 30 as the state reported over 1,500 additional known COVID-19 cases and daily averages for cases and deaths continued to rise.

The state Department of Health Services reported 1,565 additional known COVID-19 cases and 16 more deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 244,045 cases and 5,934 deaths.

Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers

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.

The tallies were reported a day after Gov. Doug Ducey during a news conference defended his administration’s handling of the outbreak but warned that “there is a storm ahead of us.”

According to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press, the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases rose over the past two weeks, rising from 764 on Oct. 15 to 1,082 on Thursday.

The rolling average for new daily deaths rose from 6.6 to 8.4 and the rolling average for the positivity in COVID-19 testing went from 7.6% to 9.8%.

Arizona was a national hot spot in June and July but COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations then fell off before starting to gradually increase again in September. Hospitalization rates are starting to reach levels last recorded in late May at the start of increases to led to summer highs.

Ducey on Thursday urged Arizona residents to continue wearing masks and taking other precautions to avoid becoming infected, like avoiding large groups.

“Thank you to Arizonans for weathering the storm to date,” he said. “We know that there is a storm ahead of us yet its not here.”

Health expert speaks out amid surge

As the state sees another surge in COVID-19 cases, doctors and nurses are bracing for a very busy winter.

"We’re not where we were in July and August, but things are getting busier," said Dr. Frank Lovecchio with Valleywise Health.

Dr. Lovecchio is on the front lines fighting COVID-19, and he even caught COVID-19 himself. He spelled out the good the bad and the ugly for the disease. He says students will definitely catch it and spread it.

"Your kid will likely be exposed. Doesn’t mean they will be exposed or die. As a matter of fact, children are less likely to die, but they are more likely to give it to others in the family, namely you, as a parent, or the grandparents," said Dr. Lovecchio.

Dr. Lovecchio also says the arrival of snowbirds, some packing the virus, will add to Arizona’s numbers. The good news, however, is a lower death rate. Younger victims are less likely to die, and now that the world is eight months into the pandemic, there is a better understanding of how to treat the virus.

"The thing that’s winning is good supportive care, meaning if they need fluids, give them fluids. If they need oxygen, give them oxygen. And try to avoid putting him on a respirator because it’s very hard to get them off," said Dr. Lovecchio.

Dr. Lovecchip says the simple safety steps work best, steps like staying six feet apart, avoiding crowds, wearing a mask, and outside is better than inside.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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

Arizona Gov. Ducey defends school guidelines as COVID-19 cases rise

According to a news release from the governor's office, Ducey will also make an announcement about partnering with food banks ahead of the holiday season. 

UArizona scientists came up with alternative to nasal swab test for COVID-19

Testing for COVID-19 could be as simple as a swish and gargle in the future.

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code

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The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report