ARIZONA NEWS

CDC: Masks, business limits helped curb spread of COVID-19 in Arizona

Oct 11, 2020, 6:15 AM
(AP Photo/Anupam Nath)...
(AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
(AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

WASHINGTON – A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report Friday credited mask mandates and business restrictions for slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Arizona, reversing an early summer spike blamed on an early easing of restrictions.

The study, in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, tracked cases in the state from Jan. 22 through their peak in June, when local and state safety mandates began to take effect.

“We have significantly reduced the cases in Arizona after the implementation of those mitigation measures,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services and one of the authors of the report.

“So, after masks became required in about 85 to 90% of the population, and then the closure of some of those high-risk activities or establishments, we did see a significant reduction,” Christ said Friday.

Other health experts in Arizona said the report should serve as “a cautionary tale” to other states.

“I would say, you want to follow what we’re doing now as far as how we’re maintaining it versus allowing it to spread the way it did in the beginning,” said Dr. Ross Goldberg, president of the Arizona Medical Association and vice chairman of surgery at Valleywise Health Center.

Arizona, like most states, imposed a flurry of restrictions on travel and nonessential services in March. But Gov. Doug Ducey overrode attempts by some local governments to close salons and spas, among other businesses, drawing criticism from some quarters.

In May, the state began to ease off on many of those restrictions, leading to crowded Memorial Day gatherings that many blame for a spike in cases that made Arizona a national hot spot for coronavirus infections.

Mask mandates were implemented by county and local governments around Arizona as COVID-19 cases in the state climbed to thousands per day, and Ducey required businesses to set safety protocols. Within weeks, case rates of increase sharply declined.

Christ considers cases in Arizona “stable” now, but other health experts worry about Arizonans relaxing too soon.

“Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas,” Goldberg said.

Will Humble, executive director of Arizona Public Health Association, said the state cannot take all the credit for the turnaround, pointing to more-aggressive actions by many of the larger jurisdictions in the state.

“Don’t tie the hands of local jurisdictions because they can provide valuable interventions that help slow the spread of a virus like this,” Humble said. “When you see good, evidence-based information about the spread of an illness during a pandemic, read it and use that to inform your policy.”

Humble also emphasized the importance of compliance and enforcement of stay-at-home orders and quick test-turn-around times.

The report comes as the state has seen a recent uptick in cases. From Oct. 2 to Oct. 9, almost 5,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Arizona, up from fewer than 4,000 cases the week before, and Goldberg said there has been an increase in recent hospitalizations COVID-19.

Christ said the state should continue to push safety measures such as wearing masks indoors and physical distancing whenever possible to continue combating the virus. With flu season looming and holidays just around the corner, she said getting a flu shot and celebrating holidays “safely” is key to maintaining the current trajectory of cases.

Goldberg said he realizes the need for continued vigilance “wears people down.”

“People are tired of it; they want to go back to normal. But until we’ve got a definitive cure, or a vaccine, we have to do this. It’s the best protection we have, and it’s working, we’ve proven it works,” he said.

Humble said that health officials have to do their part, too, to keep this week’s rise from being the start of a second wave.

“We know how responsive this virus is to policy changes,” Humble said. “It’s not fate. Whether or not we have a big spike this winter is dependent on the quality of the decisions that our elected officials make.”

Goldberg said Arizonans needs to keep up with mitigation strategies in order to avoid a second wave.

“If you relax, you see a spike,” Goldberg said. “We unfortunately have very clear examples, very recently, of what happens when you don’t follow those rules. All COVID needs is one patient.”

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

(Drug Enforcement Agency Photos)...
KTAR.com

8 million fentanyl pills seized in Arizona during 4-month DEA operation

The Drug Enforcement Agency said it seized 10.2 million fentanyl pills, the vast majority in Arizona, during a just-completed enforcement operation.
15 hours ago
Kathleen Patterson (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Facebook/Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Are...
KTAR.com

Missing hiker found dead at Spur Cross Ranch in Cave Creek

A Valley woman who went missing over the weekend was found dead in the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area on Wednesday morning, authorities said.
15 hours ago
Republican U.S. senatorial candidate Blake Masters speaks at a campaign event in Phoenix on Aug. 1,...
Kevin Stone

Blake Masters thinks independents will back him over Sen. Mark Kelly

Blake Masters, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Arizona, said Wednesday he thinks the key independent bloc will support him in his effort to unseat Sen. Mark Kelly despite recent polling showing otherwise.
15 hours ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
KTAR.com

Authorities investigate fatal boating accident on Colorado River in Arizona

Authorities are investigating the death of a California man in an apparent boating accident on the Colorado River in northwestern Arizona.
15 hours ago
FILE - Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Bob Burns smiles during a meeting, Thursday, June 20...
Associated Press

High court says lone Arizona regulator can seek utility records

The Arizona commission that regulates utilities cannot prevent a single member from issuing subpoenas to investigate companies that the panel oversees, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
15 hours ago
(Apache Junction Police Department photo)...
KTAR.com

Suspect in fatal shooting in Apache Junction turns himself over to police

A young man suspected of fatally shooting his brother in Apache Junction has turned himself over to authorities.
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
CDC: Masks, business limits helped curb spread of COVID-19 in Arizona