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No immediate plans for expanded virus data, Arizona health official says

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

PHOENIX — A top Arizona public health official said Tuesday the state does not have any immediate plans to provide an expanded breakdown of COVID-19 cases.

Jessica Rigler, assistant director at the Arizona Department of Health Services, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that isolating cases by city, especially in metro Phoenix, wouldn’t provide an accurate representation of possible risk of contracting coronavirus.

Right now, the state health department provides a daily COVID-19 update that breaks down cases by county.

“There is a concern that once we start to release city-by-city information, people may have a false sense of security about what’s going on and what their risk of exposure might be,” Rigler said.

A big reason for the lack of an expanded data is the uncertainty of where cases originate, Rigler said.

People are still traveling for work, health care needs and other services, which makes pinning down accurate numbers a challenge.

A “stay-at-home” executive order from Gov. Doug Ducey that went into effect Tuesday at 5 p.m. doesn’t prohibit residents from leaving their homes or going to places such as parks, golf courses or barber shops.

“Just because an individual lives in one city doesn’t mean they were visiting another one for work to seek health care or to go grocery shopping while they were symptomatic,” Rigler said.

Arizona had seen 1,289 reported cases of COVID-19 and 24 deaths as of Tuesday morning.

More than half of those cases — 788 — were in Maricopa County.

“Public health really relies on releasing data to the level people need to know in order to make good decisions abut their health,” Rigler said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jeremy Foster contributed to this report.

 

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

 

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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