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Arizona health boss expects COVID-19 surge to continue after Thanksgiving

FILE - In this June 27, 2020, file photo, people are tested in their in vehicles in Phoenix's western neighborhood of Maryvale with free COVID-19 tests. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered the state's hospitals, testing labs and other health care facilities to keep reporting detailed COVID-19 information. The move was made so state officials can gauge the spread of the outbreak and availability of hospital beds and resources. Ducey on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2020, extended the reporting requirement for 60 days. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s top public health official doesn’t believe the passing of Thanksgiving weekend will lead to a reduction of coronavirus cases in the state.

Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Wednesday that she expects cases to continue surging even after families and friends resume their normal schedules after the holiday weekend.

“I think after Thanksgiving, we’re still going to climb,” Christ said. “I think COVID exhaustion is real.”

Christ’s grim expectations come even as travel is projected to be down during the holiday weekend because of the pandemic.

AAA expects a 10% drop for nationwide travel on Thanksgiving this year, with air travel in Arizona projected to suffer a 48.1% drop from 2019.

About 940,000 Arizona travelers will hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday in 2020, about the same total as the previous year.

Christ said that approximately 50% of COVID-19 cases come from asymptomatic transmission, which makes gatherings during the holiday especially risky.

“I think it’s difficult, especially when you’re around people that you love and trust or are your friend,” Christ said. “You feel more comfortable about taking the mask off.”

Christ said her family’s Thanksgiving gathering will be “significantly decreased” in numbers and moved outside this year as precautions.

“We are following almost every single one of our recommendations,” Christ said.

Arizona reported 3,982 new coronavirus cases and nine more deaths on Wednesday, putting the state’s totals at 310,850 COVID-19 infections and 6,524 fatalities.

For Arizona vaccine information, visit azdhs.gov/findvaccine.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

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