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Maricopa County meets 1 of 3 COVID-19 benchmarks for Arizona businesses

(Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Maricopa County has met one of the three COVID-19 benchmarks required for certain businesses to begin reopening, but metro Phoenix remains at least two weeks off in the other metrics, according to data released Thursday.

The Arizona Department of Health Services debuted a COVID-19 data dashboard for businesses on Monday, with plans to update the statistics every Thursday.

The benchmarks are requirements that must be met before businesses that were closed under Gov. Doug Ducey’s June 29 executive order — indoor gyms, bars/nightclubs, indoor theaters, water parks and tubing – can apply for reopening.

The first phase of reopening in each county can begin when community spread of the coronavirus is considered moderate under all three metrics for at least two weeks.

The moderate level is defined as 10-100 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, a PCR test positive percentage rate of 5-10% and a rate of hospital visits for COVID-like illness of 5-10%.

Further reopening will be permitted when things improve to a minimal level for at least two weeks, defined as fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 residents, a positive test rate below 5% and a hospital COVID-like illness rate below 5%.

Community spread is considered substantial, meaning the impacted businesses must remain closed, until all three benchmarks are met.

The benchmark data reported each week is at least 12 days old to account for lags in reporting, ensuring that assessments are based on accurate statistics. Therefore, Thursday’s report covers the weeks starting July 19 and July 26 (through Aug. 1).

Maricopa County moved into the moderate range for hospital COVID-like illness rate Thursday, but remained outside the benchmarks for the other two and will have to meet them for at least two weeks before Phoenix-area closures can be lifted.

Maricopa County is trending in the right direction in the metrics it hasn’t met and sits at 117 cases for 100,000 – just 17 above the moderate threshold – and 11.2% for percent positivity – 1.2 points above the moderate mark. The county actually moved near the minimal range in the COVID-like illness metric at 5.3% percent.

La Paz and Yavapai were the only Arizona counties in the moderate range when the metrics were unveiled Monday, but a spike in positivity rate pushed La Paz out of opening range Thursday.

Yavapai remained in the moderate opening range and was joined by Cochise County.

Here’s a county-by-county look at the benchmark status after Thursday’s update:

Apache — Substantial community spread, meeting two benchmarks in moderate range: COVID-like illness and percent positivity. At least two weeks until meeting all three.

Cochise — Moderate community spread for all three benchmarks. Indoor fitness centers, bars and nightclubs providing dine-in services, indoor theaters, water parks and tubing facilities allowed to reopen in accordance with state requirements.

Coconino — Substantial community spread, meeting two benchmarks in moderate range: COVID-like illness and percent positivity. On pace to meet all three next week.

Gila — Substantial community spread, meeting one benchmark in moderate range: COVID-like illness. At least two weeks until meeting all three.

Graham — Substantial community spread, meeting one benchmark in moderate range: COVID-like illness. At least two weeks until meeting all three.

Greenlee — Substantial community spread, meeting one benchmark in moderate range: COVID-like illness. On pace to meet the other two next week.

La Paz — Substantial community spread, meeting two benchmarks in moderate range: COVID-like illness and cases per 100,000. At least two weeks until meeting all three.

Maricopa — Substantial community spread, meeting one benchmark in moderate range: COVID-like illness. At least two weeks until meeting all three.

Mohave — Substantial community spread, meeting one benchmark in moderate range: COVID-like illness. At least two weeks until meeting all three.

Navajo — Substantial community spread, meeting two benchmarks in moderate range: COVID-like illness and percent positivity. At least two weeks until meeting all three.

Pima — Substantial community spread, meeting two benchmarks in moderate range: COVID-like illness and percent positivity. At least two weeks until meeting all three.

Pinal — Substantial community spread, meeting one benchmark in moderate range: COVID-like illness. At least two weeks until meeting all three.

Santa Cruz — Substantial community spread, meeting two benchmarks in moderate range: COVID-like illness and percent positivity. At least two weeks until meeting all three.

Yavapai — Moderate community spread for all three benchmarks. Indoor fitness centers, bars and nightclubs providing dine-in services, indoor theaters, water parks and tubing facilities allowed to reopen in accordance with state requirements.

Yuma — Substantial community spread, meeting one benchmark in moderate range: COVID-like illness. At least two weeks until meeting all three.

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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