Data shows flattening of hospitalization curve amid coronavirus outbreak in Maricopa County

Officials in Maricopa County Department of Public Health say data is clearly showing a flattening of the hospitalization curve as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health said Wednesday the rate of growth in hospitalizations is slowing. Officials say that’s likely due to the social distancing measures that have closed businesses and left people avoiding large gatherings.

“Flattening the curve allows hospitals to have the resources to care for everyone who becomes sick," said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine with Maricopa County Health, in the statement.

In a news conference held Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Sunenshine says there are 2,145 cases of COVID-19 in Maricopa County, with 60 deaths.

The county also released data showing that people with high blood pressure, diabetes or heart, kidney, lung or liver disease are more likely to be hospitalized. People with high blood pressure, for example, make up 35% of hospitalizations but only 17% of the total group of people with cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Dr. Sunenshine also said one out of every five people who tested positive required hospitalization, and of those who required hospitalization, six percent required care in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at some point. The figures do not include those who have had mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all, who have not been tested for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, state health officials said 11 more people in Arizona have died from complications of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths since the start of the outbreak to 142. The 11 deaths reported Wednesday were in Maricopa, Pima, Coconino and Navajo counties.

In the statement, Dr. Sunenshine says the challenge now is to keep the curve flat, and eventually slope down.

"We cannot relax our social distancing measures yet," said Dr. Sunenshine.

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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.
  • 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.

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