ARIZONA NEWS

Q&A with Arizona’s top health official on dashboards, in-person learning

Aug 21, 2020, 1:04 PM
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, File)...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, File)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, File)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s top health official said Friday the lag time in data for the state’s schools and businesses dashboards helps ensure accurate information and discussed in-person learning, which resumed in select districts this week.

Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, told KTAR 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show that not all labs immediately report data.

Queen Creek Unified School District began in-person learning this week, while J.O. Combs Unified School District’s governing board voted 4-1 Wednesday to revert to the virtual-only instruction after all classes were canceled Monday through Wednesday because a high volume of staff had called out.

As of Thursday, when the state’s data dashboard showing the status of COVID-19 spread was last updated, Maricopa County met two benchmarks for the reopening range.

Here is a sampling of questions and answers from Christ’s interview:

The 12-day lag time on the dashboards tells us where we were and not where we are in waiting an additional 12 days, possibly for businesses. Do you understand the frustration of saying we’re going to find out in 12 days?

Christ: We completely understand the frustration for our businesses and our schools. And we’re doing everything we can to keep our public safe and give them as much certainty as we can that when we are open, we are in the clear to open. So the 12-day lag allows our data to be complete. It allows it to be accurate and it allows us to also see where we’re heading. And so that’s what we wanted to provide our businesses and schools with when we created the dashboard.

Is there a way to do that faster than a 12-day lag time?

Christ: You know, if you watch our daily dashboard, you’ll see that this week and last week percent positivity changes on a daily basis because we’re continuously getting labs and updating it the week before. That is when it finally stabilizes and stays the same. So it’s very difficult with as much data as we’re getting in and as we’re continuously evaluating it to move it closer.

We’re seeing a lot of schools that are not opening, but many of them are trying to in the East Valley and seem to be doing a good job of opening. Is there a bit of conflict in leadership among educators on how to reopen?

Christ: So again, it’s going to depend on what those mitigation measures are. You know, we put the benchmarks that we felt would keep school safe and could be monitored from a county level. Individual schools are going to be enforcing masks. They’re going to be enforcing physical distancing. So it’s really going to depend.

Why aren’t the districts giving that option to those families that want it like they are out in Queen Creek and like they are out in even others?

Christ: That was a decision that we left to the local school districts. So the governing authorities were going make the decisions that they feel are in the best interest of their families. But I completely understand the frustration of parents. I know that one of my kids last night was like, ‘I just want to go back to in-person school and see my friends.’ And so it is hard when you’re a parent, and I completely understand the frustration.

What information do we have regarding how the virus spreads in children? There was a report that seemed to conflict with things we’ve been hearing and a report that said it’s possible that kids and young people are contagious or spreading this at a higher rate than we had expected we had thought before.

Christ: You know, I think that there’s always new information coming out out about this disease. This is a brand new communicable disease that we’re learning new things about every day, and I think one of the difficulties is kids tend to be asymptomatic, so we may not know when kids have them. We do know that kids have come down with COVID and so, you know, still taking those measures of having them wear masks, staying home when they’re sick and making sure that they are physically distancing from their their peers and other people is going to help prevent the spread. And as we learn more, we will be updating our recommendations and our guidance.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Robert Hernandez (MCSO Mugshot)...
KTAR.com

Suspect arrested in fatal shooting near Interstate 17 in north Phoenix

A suspect was arrested Tuesday in the fatal shooting of a man in north Phoenix, authorities said.
1 day ago
Arizona Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, left, speaks during a news conference after the Supreme Court ...
Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court: Arizona can enforce genetic issue abortion ban

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday allowed enforcement of a 2021 Arizona law that lets prosecutors bring felony charges against doctors who knowingly terminate pregnancies solely because the fetuses have a genetic abnormality such as Down syndrome.
1 day ago
(File Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Ducey signs bill directing $335M to build border fence

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation Thursday that directs $335 million in state cash to construct virtual or physical fencing along the border with Mexico, part of a $564 million border security funding package that is the most ever spent by the state.
1 day ago
(KTAR News Photo/Luke Forstner)...
KTAR.com

Suspects in shooting of Phoenix officer indicted on first-degree murder charges

Two men accused of shooting a Phoenix police officer earlier this month have been indicted on three felony charges each, authorities said Thursday.
1 day ago
Protesters shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona Capitol after the Supreme Court...
Kevin Stone

Proposed Arizona ballot initiative to ensure abortion rights running out of time

Proponents of a ballot initiative to amend Arizona’s constitution to guarantee abortion rights have a week left to gather enough signatures to put the issue before voters this year.
1 day ago
(AP Photo/John Locher)...
KTAR.com

Peoria joins other Valley cities in implementing first stage of drought management plan

Peoria on Wednesday became the latest Valley city to announce implementation of the first stage of its drought management plan.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Q&A with Arizona’s top health official on dashboards, in-person learning