ASU experts concerned about coronavirus spike after Labor Day
Sep 2, 2020, 4:00 PM
(David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
PHOENIX – Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute director is concerned the state could see a spike in coronavirus cases following the Labor Day weekend.
Dr. Joshua LaBaer said Arizona is in a similar coronavirus case situation now as it was back in May ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.
“I’m hoping that we are a bit wiser this time as we head into that long weekend, that we don’t get too relaxed about the notion that we have been dropping,” LaBear said during a weekly press conference Wednesday.
“We are starting at a higher point than we did back on Memorial Day weekend and if we were to do the same things that we did back then, we would rise even faster now.”
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey lifted that state’s stay-at-home order May 15, about two weeks before the Memorial Day weekend.
The rolling seven-day average for cases was 342 on Memorial Day, according to the Biodesign’s critical COVID-19 trends. A week later, that average crept up to 509 before peaking on July 6 with a seven-day average of 3,844 cases.
The state’s rolling seven-day average on Wednesday was 486.
On Wednesday, Arizona health officials reported 519 coronavirus cases and 21 additional deaths, bringing the state’s documented totals at 202,861 COVID-19 infections and 5,065 fatalities.
LaBaer said it’s concerning that the percent positivity in testing is beginning to plateau. For the 48,409 coronavirus test samples taken since last Sunday that have been processed and recorded, the positive rate is 5%. The positivity rate has remained steady for the past few weeks.
That plateau hasn’t been the case for the ASU community as campuses return and students continue to gather. On Monday, the university reported a total of 803 coronavirus cases among students and faculty.
“These are kids who are getting out and possibly doing more socializing than they ought to. The key here is to shed as much light on it as possible and to do as much testing as possible,” LaBear said.
LaBaer said they’re confident they have the situation under control and doesn’t think the university is seeing a massive exponential growth on campus.
“I do think that among some populations of students, probably some who elected to go to social gatherings, we probably are seeing some exponential growth among those small populations,” LaBaer said.
With more social gatherings expected over the holiday weekend, LaBaer recommends if people are planning to gather for the holiday weekend to keep gatherings small, try to gather outside and practice physical distancing. He also recommended that if there is any concern, wait three to four days and go get a COVID-19 test.