Health experts see slight decreasing trend in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations

For the first time in several weeks, hospital and state health officials say they are finally seeing a decreasing trend in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

"We are starting to see a little bit of a plateau," said the Director of Arizona Department of Health Services, Dr. Cara Christ.

"COVID hospitalizations has been going down since Jan. 11," said Banner Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marjorie Bessel.

"This is a very early trend, but certainly a step in a positive direction," said Valleywise Hospitals Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael White.

The decline, however, is not a steep one.

"By projections we're doing, I suspect we may see us a plateau here for some time, and a longer glide path down to the numbers we were seeing in the fall," said Dr. White.

"We do expect to reach pre-surge levels, but not for another 10 to 11 weeks," said dr. Bessel.

Officials warn there is still a possibility of another surge in the coming months, as new variants of covid are discovered.  Meanwhile, the state is facing a shortage of vaccines. Officials have ordered nearly a million doses from the federal government, and new shipments arrive weekly. However, it’s uncertain if the state will receive the entire amount.

Dr. Christ says vaccines have been allocated to pharmacies, and people may soon start making appointments to get vaccinated at certain Fry’s, Safeway, and Albertson’s locations.  Currently, only about 56,000 people in arizona, are fully vaccinated.