Gov. Ducey talks about ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as number of new cases increase in Arizona

COVID-19 is has returned, front and center, on the minds of many Arizonans as cases have started to climb again.

State health officials reported that Arizona saw 1,113 new cases of COVID-19 and 17 additional deaths. This marks one of the biggest increases since mid-September.

In addition, hospitalizations are also up slightly, and hundreds of students around the state have been forced to quarantine after exposures at their schools.

The state governor and the U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos met at the Phoenix International Academy on Oct. 15, where they talked about the strides schools have made during the ongoing pandemic.

During the event, Ducey said the health and safety of kids is top priority, and schools have their protocols in place, such as wearing masks.

The governor also stressed the importance of giving students options for in-person and online learning, so parents can choose at their level of comfortability, while adding that the product is better in classrooms.

“We want to provide those options to our kids and families,” Ducey said after touring the Phoenix charter school with DeVos. “We think options are very important.”

DeVos has been outspoken in pushing schools to remain open during the pandemic.

“It’s important not only academically, but for their social and emotional growth, for their mental health,” DeVos said. “I really applaud the governor’s leadership here, acknowledging that kids need to be learning.”

Gov. Ducey was also asked about why there has been a big increase in cases.

"The increases, I believe, are coming from the 18-34 age bracket, college kids and young individuals that are out and about," Ducey replied. "You remember the beginning of spring, we never had that spike until late June, early July, when we came inside because of triple-digit temperatures. I don’t want to guess, but our temps are turning to a favorable climate. It’s our opportunity now to spend more time outside."

Arizona is well positioned as the number of COVID-19 cases rises in schools and the community at large, Ducey said. People in Arizona have done a good job following the advice of public health authorities, the governor said.

“While we are seeing some rising cases in terms of COVID-19, our positivity remains low, our hospital capacity remains large,” Ducey said. “Arizonans have been phenomenal in terms of masking up, socially distancing, washing their hands.”

Gov. Ducey didn’t talk about any plans to roll back the openings, and asked Arizonans to remain vigilant.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Combs High School in San Tan Valley closed due to COVID-19 cases

Another school in the far East Valley has to close after cases of COVID-19 were identified.

Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news.

Get the latest coronavirus news by downloading the FOX 10 News App. Our promise is that our alerts are there to inform you - not scare you.

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.

COVID-19 symptoms

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.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

COVID-19 resources

CDC Website for COVID-19

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

https://espanol.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19

https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/index.php#novel-coronavirus-home

https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/es/covid-19/index.php#novel-coronavirus-home (In Spanish/En Español)