Arizona health boss Christ says guideline on way for in-class learning
PHOENIX – Arizona’s top health official said Tuesday the state would likely have coronavirus safety guidelines ready this week for schools to allow students back in the classroom.
“We are working on developing … benchmarks … so that we can put out when we think it’s safe for students to return to in-classroom learning,” Arizona State Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ said on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.
Christ said metrics would include community spread, the numbers of cases and the impact on the health care system.
“We should be rolling that out later this week,” she said.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said Monday in a statement she didn’t believe schools will be able to back inside classrooms on Aug. 17, the earliest date designated by Gov. Doug Ducey for in-school learning to begin.
“We’re going to choose metrics that have been on our dashboard,” Christ said.
Community spread would be the most important of them, she said.
Christ wants to see moderate or minimal community spread numbers.
“Right now we have widespread community transmission of COVID-19,” she said.
Arizona reported 1,008 new coronavirus cases Tuesday and 66 more deaths.
“We’re actually trending down with the number of newly reported cases,” she said.
“That seems to be continuing our trend and showing that our mitigation measures are working.”
Many of the key metrics about the severity of Arizona’s pandemic are at or near the lowest they’ve been in weeks.
Arizona’s weekly positive rate for diagnostic PCR tests, which indicates how much the virus is spreading, has fallen each of the past four weeks.
The positive rate was 11% for the 42,506 tests given and processed last week, the lowest registered since it was 9% the week starting May 24.