Arizona health expert details 'new normal' as state reports new spike in COVID-19 cases

Officials with Embry Health say they have seen a 30% positivity rate at their COVID-19 testing sites.

A month ago, the positivity rate was 10%.

The rise in positivity rates follows an increase in cases that health officials are seeing across Arizona, but health experts say even with cases increasing, they are not seeing a large increase in hospitalizations, and they do not believe things are going to go back to the way they were even six months ago.

AZDHS reporting more cases

This week, officials with the Arizona Department of Health Services say they recorded more than 7,000 new cases, but some health officials believe the actual number of cases could be a lot higher.

"The rapid tests are in everybody's cabinets, and those aren't captured in the data," said Arizona Public Health Association Executive Director Will Humble. "That sets the stage for what is happening case-wise."

Officials with Embry Health say they are now seeing about 1,500 patients per day.

"We have more people getting tested, which is great. We're glad we can still offer our services," said Embry Health Director of Special Projects Miguel Pedraza. "It's still kind of scary. We ask people to continue wearing their mask, especially us. We implemented, at our own headquarters, mandatory use of mask."

Humble explains ‘new normal’

Humble says he believes COVID-19 cases will keep happening in waves.

"There is a reason for it, and that is the antibodies were beginning to drop following that Omicron wave we had back in January," said Humble. "In no way, shape or form, do I expect to see a big giant wave in the summer the way we saw in January."

Humble said for the last two years, he has been asked what will be the ‘new normal.’ In many ways, Humble said, people are seeing now what will be the ‘new normal.’

"It's a virus that's gonna -- over time, it's gonna be of less and less clinical significance, but we're never gonna get to that end point, like with measles, where it's just gone," said Humble.
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Embry health officials say if they do see a larger increase in cases over these next few weeks, they
Will bring back more people,
And they have store rooms full of additional supplies, ready to go.