According to the Arizona State Department of Health Services, hospital in-patient and ICU beds are in the 86-88% range—high, but not changed much over the last week. However, the Maricopa County Department of Health daily COVID-19 numbers showed 90 more people hospitalized June 26 by coronavirus.
This was by far the highest single-day increase in June. The daily average increase of hospitalized COVID-19 patients for the previous week was about 30.
While he did not create another stay-home order, Gov. Doug Ducey came just short of begging Arizonans to voluntarily do so.
“Stay home if you can,” Ducey said, repeating the message several times at June 25 and June 29 press conferences.
COVID-19 positive tests continued to accelerate, both in the state and Maricopa County. Hospitals were nearing capacity.
“Cases and hospitalizations will be worse next week and the following week,” Ducey said.
“This is Arizona’s time of challenge,” he added.
“This virus is everywhere. ... Our hospitals are seeing additional stress, and they’re likely to hit surge capacity.”
With Independence Day—which many view as the party of the summer—fast approaching, Ducey called out a half-dozen Scottsdale bars that allegedly have not followed social distancing protocols.
“The crowded social gatherings we’ve seen must be minimized,” Ducey said.
“Our numbers continue to go in the wrong direction. It’s time to step up our actions. ... Our time of getting hit is right now,” Ducey cautioned.
“This is Arizona’s first wave, and this will not be our last.”
Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health had similar words of caution at a June 25 webinar.
“We are still seeing record numbers of new COVID-19 cases,” she said. “For now, we are averaging over 1,800 cases per day. We’ve seen 36% of all (positive COVID-19 cases) in the last week. Previously, we were averaging about 200 per day, so this is a dramatic increase.”
She said over half of the county’s COVID-19 cases have been in the 20-44 age group.
“Previously, that group made up about one third,” she said.
While a smaller percentage of people are being hospitalized by COVID-19, “The total number of hospital and ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients has steadily climbed and is the highest it has ever been,” Sunenshine said.
“The good news is about 10 to 12% (of positive tests) are in individuals 65 and older. People in our highest risk group seem to be taking precautions.
“The younger age group (testing positive) likely reflects people going to work or school or being out in public. I can’t stress how important it is to wear a cloth mask when in public.”