Only 5% of intensive care unit beds statewide are currently available, with 40% of the beds in use by COVID-19 patients. On December 7, there were 3,506 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Arizona and 18 new deaths related to complications from COVID-19. This brings the total number of COVID-19 deaths to 22,779 since the public health emergency began.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) COVID-19 data dashboard, 63.1% of Arizonans are vaccinated against the virus.
The Arizona Public Health Association published an email update and blog post about the concerns surrounding the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Director Will Humble notes that there is simply not enough yet known about the variant to determine how transmissible the variant is, what the clinical presentation for persons with an Omicron infection looks like or whether it will compromise the immunity granted from infection or vaccination.
The point is that we don’t have enough information from the ongoing epidemiological investigation in the Republic of South Africa to determine whether Omicron poses the same, more, or less threat compared to Delta.
Meanwhile, patients in Arizona hospitals are facing extremely long wait times to see emergency department (ED) doctors. From Dr. Frank Lovecchio, an emergency room physician with several hospitals, via Fox10 Phoenix:
What I see on the ground floor is that most ICUs are full. They have to move patients out to make room. We’re also gearing up our COVID units again. I don’t think this is the new variant, I think this is all still the Delta variant. The repercussions of get-togethers from Thanksgiving.
Jessica Rigler, director of public health preparedness for ADHS said that Arizonans need to be flexible if they want to get a booster shot, as reports of people having to wait for several weeks for shots emerged, AP reports.
Appointments may be available a little father away or at a provider you haven’t visited before if you face a longer-than-desired wait for one in your neighborhood.
Only 13% of children ages 5 to 11 in Arizona have been vaccinated against COVID-19 one month after the vaccines have been available for children in that age group. According to AZCentral, doctors aren’t surprised. From Dr. Sean Elliott, medical director of infectious diseases and immunizations for the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics:
I’m not too surprised to hear that. Of course, I am disappointed. Going into the approval of that age 5 to 11 group, surveys were showing that 30% of parents of vaccine-eligible kids were planning to get that vaccine as soon as they could. So I would have loved to see that 30% rush out and get it done.
Republican state senator Kelly Townsend (Mesa) plans to introduce a bill that would require pharmacists to fill prescriptions for ivermectin, a drug touted as a cure-all by anti-vaccine activists, according to KJZZ. The drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat some parasitic worms in humans, as studies have shown that it works for this purpose. Studies do not demonstrate that it has any impact on symptoms related to the coronavirus.