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This Week in COVID: 55+ Now Eligible For Some Pictures, and Ducey Will get His

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It is Tuesday, March 2. Greater than 818,600 Arizonans have contracted COVID-19 and greater than 16,050 have died in consequence. Here is what occurred within the final week:

Arizona is averaging 1,145 instances of COVID-19 every day. The typical variety of new instances every day continues to drop, and are nearer to the place they have been in mid-August because the state got here out of the summer time surge. However they’re nonetheless not as little as in September, when there have been just a few hundred instances reported every day.

It is excellent news, however instances must fall additional. “I hoped we’d get all the way down to beneath a thousand instances a day however we appear to be stalling,” stated Joshua LaBaer, govt director of Arizona State College’s Biodesign Institute. LaBaer stated it’s doable that case numbers are increased than officers imagine they’re because of the low price of testing being finished. He warned that it is necessary to maintain following mitigation measures and taking precautions if a resurgence of the virus is to be prevented.

LaBaer stated that 10 extra instances of the more-infectious U.Ok. COVID-19 variant have been confirmed within the Valley, however it doesn’t look like taking off but. He stated the present instances are unfold out and there isn’t any signal it is imminent to turn into the dominant pressure of the virus. He did warn that, as soon as once more, not sufficient genome sequencing is being finished to have a real sense of the variants on the market. LaBaer stated that ASU is in talks with the state to ramp up sequencing.

Individuals with COVID-19 occupy solely 22 p.c of intensive-care beds statewide for the primary time since late November. Total, 15 p.c of intensive-care beds can be found as hospitals work via a backlog of non-COVID-19 sufferers and in the direction of reestablishing the beneficial 20 p.c “security margin.” These which might be in intensive care are very sick; greater than half, 203 of 385, are on ventilators.

On Monday, a small group gathered in Tempe to honor the 15,000 Arizonans who’ve been killed by COVID-19. Simply the subsequent day, the state crossed 16,000 recognized deaths for COVID-19. Arizona stays sixth within the nation for the variety of COVID-19 deaths reported within the final week in comparison with inhabitants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A complete of 1.86 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Arizona. Greater than 1.24 million individuals have obtained not less than one dose and greater than 617,000 have obtained each wanted doses. Meaning round 8.5 p.c of the state’s inhabitants is protected. Specialists say 70 to 90 p.c of the state will should be absolutely vaccinated to determine herd immunity. At the moment, 98.four p.c of vaccines allotted to the state have been used.

Individuals aged 55 and older will now be prioritized for the vaccine at sure places. The governor’s workplace introduced Monday that the state would now be utilizing a “hybrid” mannequin, through which eligibility is predicated on age however counties can nonetheless prioritize sure teams to obtain the vaccine. The choice was made by the Arizona Vaccine and Antiviral Prioritization Advisory Committee, with a objective is to prioritize age demographics which might be most at-risk of great results of COVID-19. The discharge notes that roughly 65 p.c of these hospitalized attributable to COVID-19 are aged 55 or older.

The state is now telling counties that when 55 p.c of a particular age group has been vaccinated, or in the event that they really feel like demand has tapered off, they’ll transition to the next-younger age group. Arizona Division of Well being Companies Director Dr. Cara Christ told the Arizona Republic on Monday the strategy was a sooner strategy to attain older adults with well being situations that put them at increased threat, as an alternative of ready till important employees had been vaccinated first — as was the earlier plan.

The state will likely be including a metric to its vaccine dashboard to point out how many individuals in every age group are vaccinated per county. The dashboard additionally now has a instrument that enables customers to test their eligibility based mostly on their age and occupation.

Now that he is eligible by age, Governor Doug Ducey slipped in to get a vaccination at State Farm Stadium in the present day. The governor didn’t alert the media he was going to be there, however was captured by a camera crew that occurred to be on web site. Afterwards, his workplace launched a promotional video. Ducey has prevented public appearances since December, as an alternative specializing in one-on-one interviews with the press.

In case you are 55 or older, you possibly can join the 50,000 March vaccination appointments the state is opening up at two of its websites as of midday in the present day. You’ll be able to join here. You can even signal as much as get vaccinated at pharmacies and medical clinics which might be receiving doses via a CDC program. Extra information is here.

Gila County, which has been increasing vaccine eligibility among the many quickest of any counties, is now offering jabs to any county resident who wants them. Round 28 p.c of the residents have obtained not less than one shot.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been permitted to be used, including a 3rd vaccine to the arsenal and providing the hope of an accelerated agenda for reaching herd immunity. In contrast to the opposite two vaccines presently in use, it doesn’t should be frozen when shipped and solely requires one dose to be efficient. Whereas it’s not fairly as efficient at stopping infections as the opposite vaccines, it is stated to make a big distinction in stopping extreme infections and hospitalizations. Christ stated Friday that the state expects to obtain a cargo of 50,000 to 60,000 doses of the brand new vaccine shortly, however numbers could also be extra variable in coming weeks.

If you wish to attempt to signal as much as get vaccinated, here is the place to go. If you wish to register inside Maricopa County, you possibly can go here to discover a location close to you. If you wish to register for someplace in the remainder of the state, go here.

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