Arizona’s second wave of COVID-19 is beginning to surge weeks before the holiday season.
A top hospital official urged Arizonans to help curb the spread of the coronavirus by considering alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving get-togethers as the state on Saturday reported over 2,000 additional COVID-19 cases for the second time in three days.
“Congregating in large groups and close contact with others outside of your immediate household put you and those around you at risk,” said Dr. Marjorie Bessel, chief clinical officer of Banner Health. “I know we are asking a lot of you.”
Banner operates 18 hospitals in Arizona and several in other states.
The state Department of Health Services reported 2,621 new known COVID-19 cases with 33 deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 257,384 cases and 6,147 deaths
RELATED: Arizona Surpasses 250,000 COVID-19 Cases. More Than 1,000 Are Hospitalized.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
Cases and hospitalizations have been steadily increasing in Arizona since late September and throughout October after bottoming out in August after Arizona was a national hot spot in June and July.
State officials have said the outbreak is getting worse in the wake of partial reopenings of schools and businesses and that more spread is expected in the coming weeks due to social gatherings, including family get-togethers for Thanksgiving.
Hospitalizations remain below the summer’s peak levels, but Bessel said the coronavirus was now spreading at its fastest rate since June.
“Arizona is experiencing uncontrolled spread of COVID-19, as are most other states in the country,” Bessel said in an emailed statement.
RELATED: What a Democratic Legislature Would Mean for COVID-19 Relief in Arizona
According to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press, rolling seven-day averages for Arizona for new daily cases, daily deaths and testing positivity increased over the past two weeks,
The rolling average for daily new cases went from 913 on Oct. 23 to 1,531 on Friday while the average for daily deaths rose from 8.4 to 25 and the average for testing positivity grew from 8.9% to 13%.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.