Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Southern AZ COVID-19 AM Roundup for Wednesday, Dec. 2: 3800 New Cases Today; Total Cases in AZ Close in on 341K; TMC CEO Warns Local Hospitals Are at or Near Capacity; Tucson City Council Enacts 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Curfew Starting Friday

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2020 at 9:23 AM

With more than 3,800 new cases reported today, the number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases closed in on 341,000 as of Wednesday, Dec. 2, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County, which reported 994 new cases today, has seen 41,313 of the state’s 340,979 confirmed cases.

With 52 new deaths reported yesterday, a total of 6,739 Arizonans have died after contracting COVID-19, including 697 deaths in Pima County, according to the Dec. 2 report.

The number of hospitalized COVID cases statewide continues to climb upward as the virus has begun to spread more rapidly, putting stress on Arizona’s hospitals. ADHS reported that as of Dec. 1, 2,699 COVID patients were hospitalized in the state, the highest that number has been since July 24 That number peaked with 3,517 hospitalized COVID patients on July 13; it hit a subsequent low of 468 on Sept. 27.

A total of 1,864 people visited emergency rooms on Dec. 1 with COVID symptoms, the highest that number has been since July 9. That number peaked at 2,008 on July 7; it hit a subsequent low of 653 on Sept. 28.

click to enlarge Pressure on ERs is growing. - AZDHS
AZDHS
Pressure on ERs is growing.

A total of 642 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care unit beds on Dec. 1, the highest that number has been since Aug. 1. The number of COVID patients in ICUs peaked at 970 on July 13 and hit a subsequent low of 114 on Sept. 22.

Judy Rich, president and CEO of Tucson Medical Center, told the Tucson City Council last night that local hospitals are near or at capacity.

“I believe stricter measures, like the ones we used earlier this year, are the only path to avert the impending crisis,” Rich told the council. “I recognize that the City might not have the legal authority to mandate such actions, but it should be the position of the City to advocate to state leadership that it is required to prevent unnecessary loss of life and illness.”

On a week-by-week basis in Pima County, the number of positive COVID tests peaked the week ending July 4 with 2,452 cases, according to an Nov. 25 report from the Pima County Health Department. (Numbers in this report are subject to revision.)

Pima County is seeing a dramatic rise in cases in recent weeks. For the week ending Oct. 31, 1,348 cases were reported; for the week ending Nov. 7, 2,119 cases were reported; and for the week ending Nov. 14, 2,578 cases were reported; for the week ending Nov. 21, 3,313 cases were reported.

COVID-related deaths in Pima County are down from a peak of 54 in the week ending July 4 but are on the rise. There were three deaths in the week ending Oct 10, one in week ending Oct. 17, six in the week ending Oct. 24; 10 in the week ending Oct. 31 and five in the week ending Nov. 7.

Hospitalization admission peaked the week ending July 18 with 221 COVID patients admitted to Pima County hospitals, but those numbers have been on the rise in recent weeks. In the week ending Oct. 31, 66 people were admitted; in the week ending Nov. 7, 90 people were admitted; in the week ending Nov. 14, 127 people were admitted; and in the week ending Nov. 21, 139 people were admitted.

Tucson City Council enacts 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew

The Tucson City council voted to enact a citywide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily that will go into effect Friday, Dec. 4 until Dec. 23.

The council voted 6-0, amending Tucson Mayor Regina Romero’s initial proclamation to set an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew that would have begun tonight.

On Nov. 23, the Pima County Health Department announced a voluntary overnight curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. every day until Dec. 31—but it’s not enforceable.

As part of the amended curfew agreement among the city’s council members, if Pima County changes their voluntary curfew time, Tucson’s curfew time will follow suit.

The proposed curfew would prohibit everyone from being in public places with the following exceptions:

  • Emergency response personnel

  • Traveling to and from work

  • Attending religious services

  • Caring for a family member

  • Seeking medical care

  • Fleeing dangerous circumstances

  • Traveling to perform or receive essential functions

  • Homeless persons

City Attorney Mike Rankin specified traveling to essential businesses such as grocery, home goods and hardware stores is allowed. Travel to restaurants for consumption off-premises is also allowed by means of take out, delivery, curbside and drive-thru food orders.

“The curfew does not order the closure of any business at any particular time, instead, what it does is it regulates when people can be in public places, which includes traveling on the public streets,” Rankin said at the council’s meeting. “It does not, as presented, prevent people from traveling to or from any essential activity or essential functions, even during the curfew hours.”

Offenders of the curfew will be subject to a civil infraction that holds a fine of up to $300.

Get tested: Pima County opening new sites alongside existing spots for free COVID testing

Pima County offers a number of testing centers around town.

You’ll have a nasal swab test at the Kino Event Center (2805 E. Ajo Way) the Udall Center (7200 E. Tanque Verde Road) and downtown (88 E. Broadway).

The center at the northside Ellie Towne Flowing Wells Community Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff Road, involves a saliva test designed by ASU.

In addition, the Pima County Health Department, Pima Community College and Arizona State University have partnered to create new drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites at three Pima Community College locations. At the drive-thru sites, COVID-19 testing will be offered through spit samples instead of nasal canal swabs. Each site will conduct testing from 9 a.m. to noon, and registration is required in advance. Only patients 5 years or older can be tested.

Schedule an appointment at pima.gov/covid19testing.

The University of Arizona’s antibody testing has been opened to all Arizonans as the state attempts to get a handle on how many people have been exposed to COVID-19 but were asymptomatic or otherwise did not get a test while they were ill. To sign up for testing, visit https://covid19antibodytesting.arizona.edu/home.


—with additional reporting from Austin Counts, Jeff Gardner, Nicole Ludden and Mike Truelsen


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