PHOENIX - A day after Arizona health officials reported no coronavirus-related deaths, the state has tallied more than 100 more.
The Arizona Department of Health Services said on July 28 that there have been another 104 known deaths and 2,107 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Officials say deaths do not all occur on the same day but are often the results of reviewing death certificates going back weeks.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Arizona now stands at 165,934 and the number of deaths at 3,408.
Meanwhile, in-patient hospitalizations and intensive care unit occupancy continued on slight declines. However, the number of patients on ventilators went up slightly. Hospital capacity statewide continues to hover in the mid-80s in terms of percentage.
Health expert speaks as Arizona sees COVID-19 plateau
Arizona, which was once seen as a COVID-19 hotspot in terms of cases per capita, has seen something of a plateau of new COVID-19 cases lately.
The plateau timing matches perfectly, as it came about a month after Governor Doug Ducey shut down bars and gyms, and many cities started requiring masks. Dr. Andrew Carroll, a family physician, says the crackdown on large gatherings and mask mandates may be working.
"We did it with mitigation efforts like wearing a mask, but also shutting down businesses where people congregate and typically pass on the illness.“
Test result times are still slow, sometimes taking two weeks, thus blurring the big picture. However, people who study public cell phone GPS data say they can see the spread almost as it happens: the more people interact with others, the faster the virus moves.
"The number one thing to predict COVID-19 cases is social interactions, which means social distancing is the number one thing we can do to improve the situation," said TOP Data CEO Ben Kaplan.
Cell phone data show Arizona’s pandemic social interactions peaked on May 24th, and like clockwork, COVID cases started to spike two weeks later. Kaplan says interactions are creeping up again, and when the state starts to see an average of more than three interactions per person, per day, people will start to see trouble.
"In the past two weeks, it’s up to 2.85, so it’s a little bit going to wrong direction but still not over three, which is where we see a lot more problems," said Kaplan. "So, this is a predictor to be cautiously optimistic but a little more vigilant."
"The only way we can get back to normal, go out to restaurants and bars is to continue these efforts, and then we need to get a vaccine to protect the vulnerable in our community against getting ill," said Dr. Carroll.
The coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, for most people.
For some people who contract the virus, especially those who are older or have underlying health conditions, it can cause more severe illness and death.
The vast majority of people who are diagnosed with COVID-19 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
FULL COVERAGE: fox10phoenix.com/coronavirus
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.
- Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers
- Coronavirus: Symptoms, testing and how to prepare amid growing COVID-19 outbreak
- How coronavirus differs from flu: Symptoms to watch for
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.
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.
The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report