Dr. Cara Christ explains contrast in Arizona school, business dashboards
PHOENIX – Arizona’s COVID-19 business and school dashboards contain similar information, but Arizona’s top health director said Thursday their differences are based on when they were created.
The Arizona Department of Health Services has dashboards for both businesses and schools. The businesses dashboard details whether a county is in the substantial, moderate or minimal spread category while the school dashboard only indicates if a county has reached moderate spread.
“We developed the school benchmark dashboard first so it was really that,’ Yes or no, can you be back in person, can you not,’” AZDHS director Dr. Cara Christ told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday.
Christ said the set-up of the business dashboard could be applied to the school dashboard in the future.
As of Thursday, 10 Arizona counties, including Maricopa, Pima and Pinal, have met all three benchmarks for students to resume modified in-person learning. The hybrid-learning model is designed to reduce occupancy in the classrooms and give parents the option to send their children back to school.
Gyms, bars operating as restaurants, theaters, water parks and tubing operators are required to meet the business benchmarks to reopen. As of Thursday, 11 counties currently meet the requirements to be in the moderate spread stage.
Gila, Graham and Yuma are the only counties that remained in the substantial spread stage.
Christ said if a county does shift back into the substantial range, the county won’t officially move up until the benchmarks have been in the substantial range for two consecutive weeks because they don’t want minimal changes in data to skew operations.
“Most of our counties look really good and very stable in our moderate and even in some of our minimal areas, but we would work with them,” Christ said.
In the attestation businesses signed to be allowed to reopen, they agreed to follow the rules that were in place during the substantial area.
If a school district is in a county that moves back into the substantial category after a two consecutive week increase, the recommendation would be shifting to online learning.
“It’s going to be up to the school boards and the districts in consultation with their local health departments, but we recommend if the metrics go back into substantial, they should consider moving back into a virtual environment,” Christ said.
Christ noted the state’s coronavirus data is heading in the right direction.
On Thursday, Arizona health officials reported 1,091 new coronavirus cases and 65 additional deaths, bring the state’s totals to 203,952 COVID-19 infections and 5,130 fatalities. Despite the uptick in cases, the state’s overall positivity rate has remained at 5% for the last several weeks.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.