Medical experts call for partial shutdown in Arizona as COVID-19 cases surge

Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to COVID-19 over the Thanksgiving holiday is urged to get tested now.

It takes five to seven days for COVID-19 to be detected by tests. Dec. 1 marks five days since Thanksgiving, and the lines to get tested have been long at one site.

According to Valley healthcare providers, they are already treating COVID-19 patients who say they were infected after attending Thanksgiving gatherings.

"Yesterday, I had probably my first case of a Thanksgiving exposure, and that person ended up being positive," said Dr. Andrew Carroll. "This morning, I saw a couple who had an infant as well, saying they were exposed at Thanksgiving as well."

Dr. Carroll believes Arizona is on track for a surge much worse than what the state saw over the summer.

"I think we’re going to start to see counts up to 5,000 to 7,000 every day of new cases," said Dr. Carroll.

Dr. Carroll says right now, those who were infected over Thanksgiving but are asymptomatic are unwittingly spreading the virus.

"If families don’t follow the guidance, it increases the risks for potential exposures at our schools, and our goal is to mitigate those risks," said Scottsdale Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Scott Menzel.

SUSD officials have closed several high schools and return to virtual learning, after many teachers called out due to fear of certain exposure.

"We ended up on [Nov. 30] having 134 unfilled classrooms," said Dr. Menzel. "We saw a similar trend unfolding for [Dec. 1] in those high schools."

Healthcare providers are now calling on local leaders to temporarily shut down activities at bars, sports, and other large venues.

"I think it’s evident that our state government is not going to implement strong measures to mitigate this illness," said Dr. Carroll. "My suggestion would be targeted shutdowns, in places and locations where we know spread happens quickly."

Phoenix city leaders will be meeting on Dec. 2 to discuss possible new limits on large sporting events and tournaments scheduled to take place at city sports complexes. Meanwhile, the Mayor of Tucson has called for a city-wide curfew.