There were 649 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Arizona Wednesday, bringing the state total to 855,804. Six new deaths were reported, and will be retroactively reassigned to the dates on which the deaths took place. COVID-19 patients occupy 10% of intensive care unit beds and 14% of available hospital beds.
This information comes from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Data Dashboard.
The New York Times Coronavirus tracker for Maricopa County has downgraded the risk to “high risk” for the month of April. The 14 day hospitalization change is flat, test positivity is at 4% and 23% of the county is fully vaccinated.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey surprised state education leaders with an executive order removing the mask requirement in public schools. While the governor’s announcement and executive order states that the recommendation “aligns with CDC guidance”, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations do not discourage use of masks for children.
In the Arizona Public Health Association blog this week, executive director Will Humble slammed the decision from the Governor’s Office and ADHS Director Cara Christ:
These two are really a piece of work. They couldn’t even wait for the remainder of the school year to finish with the existing mask policies in place. Instead, they made mask wearing at schools optional with only 23 more days of school left in most districts.
ADHS also announced that there is a new COVID-19-related condition that has taken the lives of three children in the state. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is very rare, according to ABC15, but affects some children several weeks after COVID-19 infection or exposure.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken steps to authorize tests for pooling specimens from asymptomatic individuals in serial testing programs, and issued a pooling and serial testing amendment for molecular diagnostic COVID-19 tests that received emergency use authorization, according to an FDA press release. Thereare 367 tests and sample collection devices currently authorized by the FDA under EUA, including 269 molecular tests.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $150 million from the American Rescue Plan to support community healthcare providers with COVID-19 response. This funding will go to “Health Center Program look-alikes”, community-based health care providers that provide primary care to underserved communities but are not Health Center Program grantees. Applications are due to grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. ET on May 14.
The American Hospital Association is requesting that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services pause on-site hospital surveys again if COVID-19 cases surge. According to Healthcare Finance, AHA’s letter said that although the surveys play a vital role in safety and quality of care, they should take spikes in cases and hospitalizations into account.
Modern Healthcare reports that hospitals are also concerned about an increase in chronic care complications from patients who neglected to seek treatment for chronic conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The reporting concluded 6 out of 10 adults in the U.S. have at least one chronic disease and a CDC study from September found that 32% of adults reported avoiding routine medical care due to concerns about the pandemic.